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We had lived such a hum-drum life at Parkestown for 
long, that when on the morning of the 18th May, 187 — , 
the Herald was not delivered as usual, I almost felt as if 
the Solar System had gone out of gear. Reflection showed 
me that the iixegularity might be accounted for by some 
minor cause, but when ten o'clock came, and brought, 
instead of the paper, an appalling rumour, through our 
butter and pumpkin merchant, I thought that I might as 
well walk across the paddock and see my neighbour Smith. 
Living a mile from the main road, and a long way from town, 
the" news that reached us through such irregular channels 
was generally wholly unreliable, and this might be only one 
of the hundred false alarms that had startled Sydney for a 
year past. Still I detected, or fancied I detected, a colour of 
fact in this, that distinguished it from other reports that had 
reached us before, and the non-arrival of the paper might, 
after all, augur some event of importance. 

Remembering the excitable female element with which my 
abode is blessed and enlivened, I took care, as I walked away, 
to assume as leisurely and unconcerned a manner as I could. 

mt-.r-^ £' 192^^ 


Whatever had happened^ the more easily we took it the 
better. If it was a fact that the Russians had landed in 
force on the shores of Botany^ there would be trouble enough 
without the useless addition of panic and hysterics. Even 
a« it was^ when I glanced ov^r my shoulder^ I could see our 
Marchioness^ with her eyes dilated to double their usual size, 
pouring forth to her mistress, even my wife Kate, the full 
details of what she had heard from her usual gossiping 
station at the garden fence. 

I had a misgiving that the report was well founded. 
Besides the authentic stamp of the story^ it coincided exactly 

with something that had reached me from another quarter, 

but which till now had made little impression on me. 

A circumstance of the kind some years ago^ I would have hesi- 
tated to speak about, but now such signs and wonders meet 
us at every turn, and my previous indifference in this case 
arose not from any disbelief as to the fact of the communi- 
cation^ but from doubt as to its being trustworthy. The very 
man I was going to see now had in his own household daily 
evidence of unseen presences and invisible influences at work 
around him. James I, of happy memory^ or Dr. Cotton 
Mather^ of Boston, would certainly have readily treated my 
poor friend^ with his gentle wife and loving children^ to a 
blazing tar-barrel each^ accompanied with the anathema 
maranaiha, or greater malediction of the Church. 


Many good people here now would like to subject all sucli per- 
sons to petty persecution — even perhaps to fine and imprison- 
ment- — and would denounce them as imposters^ catch-pennies^ 
and so on. In this case it would have been a mistake. 

What happened in that house was a secret from the public^ 
and was never published or paraded either for the sake of 
money or any other motive. I might justly vindicate the 
couple I speak of from all mercenary imputations or suspi- 
cion of imposture^ by saying that they were people of good 
repute —a genfleman and a lady— but I feel that the use of 
these designations might convey an erroneous impression. 

Conventional commonplace^ and feeble ignorance seem to 
have become of late the most approved signs of correct 
breedings and on such grounds they certainly could not expect 
social acceptance. So I will simply say that their happy 
modest home was open only to a few intimate friends^ that 
when anyone went in^ the husband was generally seen 
*' skylarking ** with the children, and the wife was, in her 
busy kindly way, " on household cares intent." 

Anything less like a witches cave, a Delphic shrine, or the 
abode of the Pythoness, one could hardly imagine. 
The romping happy children, the thoughtful courteous 
matron, the jolly head of the house, full of jokes 
and stories ; and yet withal, whatever things are represented 
by the words seer, medium, second-sight, clairvoyant, 
were in daily existence and operation there. You don't 


believe it, my practical reader. Just so. Many like you 
can give no reason either for their belief or unbelief 
on this or any other subject. 

Don't you think it would be a good plan to read, listen, 
look and wait till you know something before you give an 
opinion ? 

If a fact is a fact, your not looking at it, or shutting your 
eyes will not extinguish that fact. 

Here, there was no affectation or mystery in connection 
with the operation of the power. The house-hold was like 
others — ^with less gloom and more cheerfulness than many. 
Neither the father nor mother were in the least wrapt in 
ecstacies— transcendental— haggard— long-haired — or ghastly, 
and the children were not in the least afraid to be alone in 
the dark. 

His good, comfortable, well-proportioned figure of 
fifty years, filled his garden gate exactly as he stood 
looking up and down the road, and when she called him in 
to breakfast, she rated him for keeping them waiting, and he 
answered in his usual good-humoured, bantering way. But 
ever aAd anon, a sheet of paper would be found on the table 
covered with strange writings, and stranger yet, some one of 
the family, when resting on a sofa or arm-chair in the 
evening, yielding to the peaceful quiet and languor of the 


hour, would become possessed of strange power of sight, and 
things far off and hidden to corporeal faculties would be 

An instance of this had occurred three days ago, and 
Smith going into town had found me with two other friends 
at our usual haunt. tie then and there gave us the 
substance of what had apparently come under the eye of his 
informant. It was of startling import, if it was to be 
believed ; and we talked the subject over. Smith placed full 
confidence in the truth of the communication. I believed in 
the existence and power of disembodied intelligences, but 
doubted their veracity. The other two had seen some of 
these things, but not enough to form decisive opinions. Still 
we had all perfect confidence in Smith's good faith. We 
determined at last to put the whole circumstance in writing, 
and we sent the same to the Premier to let him take it for 
what it was worth. 


The statement was this. A hostile armament wa^ to be 
seen within three days sail of Sydney. To windward there 
were three or four Ironclads, and half a dozen light steamers 
within sight of each other. Far down to leeward thcrf were 
as many heavy steamers that looked like transports full of 
men, and tnere were many other vessels within a circle of 
three hundred miles, converging on the same point. The 
Hero, two days out from Auckland, and two colonial sailing 


craft had been captured by the light steamers^ and the Hero 
waa coming along under convoy. The sailing craft seemed 
to have been scuttled. 

Smith believed in it so fully that he determined to move 
his family up to the Weatherboard at once^ and he recom- 
mended us to do the same. I did not feel that there was 
any sufficient reason for taking such a step^ and with the 
others decided to wait to see what would come of it. 

I had never thought the idea of an armed descent upon 
our coasts absurd or impossible. With the fearful additional 
power given to war by steam^ there was nothing to baulk 
such an attempt. As to our means of defence^ their value 
was a matter on which various opinions were formed. For 
my part^ I had no faith whatever in the wisdom^ foresight or 
presence of mind of our Government^ but I had great belief^ 
as a last resource^ in the fighting powers of my countrymen 
both imported and native to the soil. 

When the echo of war first reached us, the prospect of 
actual danger produced a good deal of preparation, and the 
fighting spirit was for a time high, till we got tired of endless 
canards, the last always contradicting the one before. The 
authorities had made it no better by treating us, without 
notice, to several alertes. 

The first told no doubt well for the prompti- 
tude and spirit of our Defence Force, but • each 
repetition seemed to have a tendency to defeat the very 

8PIJB8. 9 

purpose for which it was intended. The cry of " Wolf ! 
Wolf !'^ too often heard^ fell at length on listless ears^ and if 
all the big guns on the batteries were fired half the night or 
day^ people assumed that it was only more squibbiug or 
target practice. 

Th^re was another cause at work that befooled us^ while it 
played into the hands of the enemy. 

The insatiable craving of our *^good society" for ''Counts" 
had thrown open the Colony to as worthless a lot of 
scoundrels as ever preyed upon the hospitality of silly people. 

Krom the days of Miranda it was always the same. 

Runaway valets with stolen jewels from Vienna — ^Magyar 
nobles much experienced in billiard-marking— ^yro- 
Phoenician eunuchs and others from the Lord-know^- 
where — had all got the run of the best houses^ and had been 
put in the way of securing all possible official information— > 
and they were all spies to a man. 

The last of these honored guests had left Sydney a year 
before somewhat hurriedly^ the ever charming and radiant 
Count Kaskowhiski. And is not his name recorded in many 
ledgers to this day ? — His departure was a sad blow to hit 
many creditors. 

K two of our fashionable damsels met during the 
forenoon on Banksia Point or in Waratah Bay, the odds were 
that one carried a copy of music from the " dear County'' 
and the other a book from '' our beloved Pastor." 


The Pastor and the Count divided the female homage^ and 
the fair owners of bright eyes and snowy shoulders^ swarmed 
and fluttered round both wherever they went. 

How the women adored them both, and how the men 
hated them ! 

Kaskowhiski had seen life and no wonder. A fiddler in 
Moscow — a pimp in St. Petersburg — a eommissionaire in 
Constantinople — a waiter in Paris — head-liar to the top- 
swindler of the Hamburg Bourse — a secret correspondent to 
the Imperial Intelligence Office wherever he went,— he knew 
a thing or two. 

" Oil, Lady the Count has four Estates in the Ukraine, 

and a Summer Palace on the Vistula," says Angelica. 

''Yes, of course, Chate&ux-en-Esp&gne — castles in the air 
— ^I've seen them — I once lived there myself^' — ^replies her 
astute Ladyship to the puzzled nymph. 

'' Oh, Miss Angelica ! the riches of this world are but 
fleeting joys," says the Vicar, who is always putting a spoke 
in the Count's wheel. 

The Pastor and the Count were by no means unlike in 
their ways. Both played on the charming sensibilities of the 
adored sex, and therefore they were rivals. The beauty of 
this Count was — that he was always taking notes in the most 
open manner. His love for sketching was a mania, and he 


had every strip of beacli — every landing-place — and every 
road, both in the harbour and along the coast for many miles, 
in his portfolio before long. 

At pic-nics, riding parties, and drives, he worked 
away without concealment. Fairy feet guided him 
over the cliffs, and fair fingers filled in his sketches* 
The dear Count was so fond of scenery ! If the men 
had kept theur eyes open, they could not but have seen 
that the villain was up to some mischief. But they stuck ,ta 
their yams and cigars, and did not want to be bothered with 
a fellow that they took for a singer or a man-milUner. 

Yes, young ladies, you managed to do a good deal of 
mischief, with your love of admiration and proneness to the 
idolatry of shams. But far better be out of the world than 
out of the fashion. Oh, my dear countrywomen, when will 
you learn true breeding and common sense ? You know, at 
least two-thirds of you, that in your heart you do not care 
twopence for either counts or pastors, but you fear to leave 
the paths followed by the "best sets," and you would worship 
the Prophet and his tom-cat if it were the "correct thing'* 
done in " society." 

Now, don't you think you could find a better motive, and 
enjoy yourselves a great deal more as well, if you determined 
to act more independently. For instance, do a thing only 
because it is a duty, or because you like the fun of it, and, if 
you feel disposed "to take religion," eschew reverend 


hypocrisies, and try for a change the reUgion of the heart 
and life — ^but this no doubt is very low, and I admit at once 
that I am a Vulgar person. 

Well, Kaskowhiski and the rest sent to their employers 
cases filled with maps, plans of roads, soundings, surveys, 
and details of armament, and they sent what pleased them 
even more, confirmation of a fact that would have been other- 
wise quite incredible to a Continental government, namely, 
that we had no secrets of State, and no plans of defence ; 
that everything was open, unprepared, ajad unguarded ; in 
fact that there was a throat ready bare for anyone who had a 


But when conversing in society 'these gentlemen had 
always scouted the idea of war, and spoke of peace, fraternity, 
4ind the fine arts. 

-It came out afterwards that our Ocean and Intercolonisd 
Telegraph lines were aR more or less under like influences. 
Our communications, while they lasted, were most contradic- 
tory as to the doings of the enemy. 

The most startling rumours from Jeddo, Singapore, and San 
Francisco, were repeated and repeated again with the most con- 
vincing circumstantiality, only to be contradicted the week after, 
and followed by the most soothing assurances of peace and 

This had the effect intended, which was that no one 
at length paid any attention to these telegraph reports. 

W1EE8 CUT. 13 

The ramifications of intrigue that these scoundrels of spies 
had established surprised us when our eyes were opened. 

When the day came that the overland lines were wanted, 
they all stopped at once^ and nobody knew who did it. It 
was not a single break of the wire. The damage was done 
80 that immediate repair was impossible^ and it was done on 
every line in a dozen places. It could not be the foreign- 
looking lemonade dealer at the Central Junction for one, or 
the young gentleman with the Greek name who was so well 
mannered^ and who had lately been made operator at 
Valentia ; or any other such-like^ for there were lots of them ; 
or it could not be the all-pervading John, from the Flowery 
Land^ carrying out a little pigeon contract entered into 
between the Great Ruski Emperor and a boss in Shanghai. 

No, we will exonerate John. We prefer to put it on the 
cigarette-smoking gentlemen who play the piano so well, and 
are so civil-spoken and so oily. 

Notwithstanding our resources for defence, though 
pitiably insignificant in the eyes of these foreigners, were 
more formidable than either they or their kind entertainers 
in Sydney knew of, or indeed than our military authorities 
themselves, biassed by their professional notions, could have 

Our readers will, we hope, understand our wish to place on 
record views and opinions held prior to those stirring events 
not long past, and which will be remembered for many years 

14 STEAM, 

to come. The facts have become historical^ but the current 
notions aud theories that preceded them have vanished into 
thin airland have been given up and scouted even by respectable 
well-to-do people. 

How these same good folks used to sneer at the 
Permanent Force^ aud go into fits over the Volunteers^ 
and as to an undrilled man facing fire^ why it was more than 
absurd to suppose it possible! 

To propound that any colonist would behave like 
a man at all in the national perils was to be smiled 
down by all the . responsible people who wished to get 
credit for mental soundness. A different song is sung 
now. Everyone says that an armed nation is its own 
best defence^ and that those military schools which will not^ 
or cannot^ adapt their technicalities to facts as they are^ must 
henceforth be dispensed with. 

The Imperial Military Commissioners who visited the colonies 
in the year 1877^ had based their plans for defence on the 
supposition — stated by them as a fundamental axiom-«-that 
the control of the seas would still remain with Great Britain 
in any future war^ as it had remained since Trafalgar. 

In assuming this as a certainty^ these officers must have disre- 
garded the opinion of the great soldier^ who recognised a 
revolution in the science and practice of war when he 
announced^ in his famous epigram^ that " steam had bridged 
the channel.'' 


Late events had not failed to shew the efficacy of this new 
poyftr for sudden and formidable attack, more especially 
during the American civil war, when the success of the 
blockade-runners, and of the cruisers of the ^^ Alabama*^ 
stamp opened a new page in warfare to those who could read 
and understand. 

It was first from the hint thus supplied, that the Russian 
authorities had adopted the tactics which have distinguished 
their recent operations. 

These were no secret on the Continent. They were 
discussed even in the Russian Press, and reprinted 
in the English papers. The theory on which they 
.were based was as follows, "Why should we hamper 
ourselves with a fleet to defend our barren coasts ? If an 
enemy lands, he can get nothing ; our wealth is inland, and 
our few ports can be best protected by land-batteries and 
sub-marine mines. Let us form a naval force for aggression, 
not for defence. Our enemy's wealth and population lie oil 
coasts in positions accessible from the sea. Let us fill the 
ocean with cruisers, which will cut up his shipping, and 
plunder and destroy his ports.'* 

How the method was put in practice we all know now. 
Cruisers and transports, with orders merely to muster 
at a certain geographical point, would leave a dozen 
ports in Europe and Asia. They would assemble 


close to the object of attack^ and^ upon the success 
or failure of the attempt^ the shipping would immediately 
again scatter over the ocean. 

The seas for long before this had been almost as 
safe as the streets of a, city, piracy had been sup- 
pressed, and the slave trade was kept down, and this was 
mainly owing to the supremacy of the British flag ; but now 
the world was convulsed with general war, aggravated by the 
formidable character of the new motive power, and a spirit of 
piratical adventure, long repressed in the maritime countries 
of Europe and Asia, now arose, beckoned again into life by 
the rich prizes studding the shores of the Indian and Pacific 
oceans — the scores of thriving settlements untouched by 
former war — the fruits of sixty years' peace and colonization — 
and this buccaneering element readily rushed into the 
channel opened by the Russian policy. 

The mutiny of the military classes and warlike tribes of 
India had twenty years before given proof — if proof were 
needed — that, in this stage of the world's growth, there are 
large numbers of people who do not find their interest in 
peace, industry, and lawful commerce. 

Time-honored institutions had reared whole populations to 
look upon the sword as the legitimate winner of bread, 
wealth, and honor, and all such felt their ideal of '^good 
times '' realised in general rapine and confusion. 


In like manner the prospect of adventure, prize-money, 
and plunder, dlrew numbers of the maritime outlaws of the 
globe to the Russian flag, and they were readily assimilated 
and orgamse(f under k system which for the last two hundred 
years had lived and grown by the absorption of foreign 

The success of a raid in another part of the Empire had 
caused a lively sense of alarm all over the colonies, and the 
inhabitants began to see that they must be prepared to defend 
themselves for the future in a much more practical, personal, 
and immediate sense, than by the mere voting through their 
representatives, for the equipment of so many regiments or 

The enemy had appeared all at once on the occasion 
referred to, without warning, and vanished in the saine 
feishion in a few days, leaving blood and ashes behind 

The cruisers on the Station never saw anything of the 
attacking force, and the local military under regular officers 
were taken by surprise — the Staff scattered about — ^and 
ammunition wanting. 

Nothing of the kind had yet happened on the Australian 
coast, but all who were not wilfully blind could see that so 
successful an experiment would be repeated, that this first 
sally was only trying' the "prentice hand," that a grand 


"coup" would follow on a greater scale, and that if the 
blow against this colony was cautiously withheld, it was none 
the less impending. 

But neither the Imperial nor Colonial authorities were to 
be shifted out of the old groove by the lesson. 

Those who reverted to the pages of history, were by no 
means surprised, when the war of 1878 opened as those of 
1808 and 1854 did, with Great Britain utterly unprepared. 

Nevertheless, it is a curious fact, that accounts of military 
and naval preparations had filled the English papers and 
interested the public for long. 

Lectures and writings by distinguished officers, 
made the theory of war familiar to every one. 
Engineers and ship-builders in their meetings and pub- 
lications brought forward improvements and adapta- 
tions, which were diffused abroad and utilised largely by our 
enemies ; but these hints never told upon the Lords of the 
Admiralty, while every little attempt at preparation made in 
England, was known sooner and understood better in St. 
Petersburg, than by the politicians of London. 

With an executive service blind to reason, and moreover 
paralysed by the constant meddling of Parliament, a proper 
plan of operation, well-considered, secret, and feasible, was 
thus impossible. Consequently, it was the Crimea over again 
paper army and a toy fleet, starved by a sham adminis- 



tration — strangled in red tape — choked with senseless offici- 
alism-— and summoned all at once to confront a gigantic 
power — secret and silent — ^fertile in intrigue — apt at imitation 
-^commanding through the wide variety of nationalities imder 
its flag every phase of human capability — and actually having 
picked from our own brains^ many of the ideas to be put in 
practice in their attack on our Empire. 

Remembering those times, one feels how incredible the 
facts then in existence must appear now. 

For a generation, the instincts of the country had been 
struggling against the shams and follies of officialism. 

The scientific and technical knowledge of the day was laid 
open in every way to the naval and military authorities, but 
generally fruitlessly. 

At times a wave of popular feeling too strong to be resisted, 
forced on the unwilling Departments — steam, improved fire- 
arms, the telegraph, and other inventions — ^but in most cases 
the veteran functionaries managed to stave off, or quietly get 
rid of those encroachments on established usage. 

Just before the war, daily experiments were 
made at Chatham and Portsmouth with Torpedo 
boats, rocket skiffs, projectile grapnels, and other naval 
appliances; and these were witnessed without restriction 
by numbers of foreign officers, and their descriptions 
were published in the papers — ^all to be shelved or. 


rejected by their Lordships of the Admiraky-^but alModt 
every one of these inventions to be adopted within the jeax in 
&e Russian or Prussian sendee. 

An angry vote of the Commons at length forced one or two 
of those designs on the Navy^ but the Admiralty passed 
them on to be addled by a Commission^ and nothing came 
of them. 

The Army was if anything worse — being manacled in the 
irons of a cross grained^ brainless fogeyism. 

After the war of 1870^ the public voice demanded that the 
British Army should be organised like that of Prussia. They 
meant that it should be put on such a footing as would make it 
effective for service whenever it was wanted ; but that spurt of 
national excitement ended merely in filling the papers with the 
cant teriQs of Continental tactics — ^which nobody ever under- 
stood — or in tailoring innovations. '^Krieg Spiel^'^ for instance 
was introduced^ though nobody had the least notion what it 
was^ except that Royal Princes played it. 

The War Office clerks must have indulged in a 
chuckle of gratified malice when they succeeded in 
burking the cry for "mobilisation^* by arraying the 
Infantry of the Line in spiked helmets of the Prussian 
type — while the public seemed to be fiilly satisfied that the 
troops had mastered the German field manoeuvres^ when they 
appeared with their boots over their trousers. 


The dotbing department was that in which the '^ Horse 
Guards^' was always strongest. 

To make the Army a serviceable machine was by no means 
the aim of the War authorities — but to change the uniform 
with every passing fashion^ had been the chosen and delighted 
duty of each successive administration. 

To us in the colonies^ it looked as though the settlement of 
these matters was in the hands of nursery-maids^ or the 
artists of Illustrated Papers. 

If the French had '^Ucked'Vii 1870, (to use the school- 
boy term) there is little doubt that the British Infantry 
would have been turned out in peg-tops and kepis. 

It is beyond question that in this twaddling spirit the most 
expensive army in the world was administered. 

We Australians^ having seen all this, with its consequences, 
in the recent sack of New Dorset, naturally acquired a com- 
plete distrust of the Imperial military system ; and conse- 
quently, right or wrong, of the preparations for defence 
adopted on the report of the Commissioners, but equally 
there arose among us a very resolute determination to defend 
our homes against the enemy. 

The Assembly, on the spur of a well-founded alarm, 
added to the Permanent Force four batteries of artillery, and 
four companies of infantry, and they removed the obstruc- 
tions which had existed for some years to the recruiting of 
the Volunteer Force. 


These regiments^ long thinned and diminished by misman* 
agement^ were speedily filled to the full strength^ and drill and 
target practice were pursued with spirit. 

As an instance of the previous mismanagement^ it is a 
fact that to evade the granting of Volunteer Land 

Orders, numbers of the best men— technically under 

sized — but often noted as shots and athletes, were 

drafted out and dismissed the ranks, without other reason given. 

— just as they had nearly completed their full time. 

But there remained a strong section of the population that 
was by no means satisfied to trust the safety of their families 
and homes either to the care of a military system that seemed 
to reach the accustomed goal of blunder or break-down when- 
ever it was tried, or to the spasmodic and uncertain patriotism 
of a coloniallegislature. 

Seeing that in spite of British cruisers and troops under 
regular discipline, towns on the coast might be surprised^ 
plundered, burned, or their inhabitants held to ransom^ 
many felt that it would be weakly credulous to risk their all 
to a guardianship that had been proved blind, unready, or 
crippled, and the discussion that arose brought out facts 
that had not previously been taken into consideration. 

It appeared that there were among the population thou-- 
sands of men who had already passed through the volunteer 
ranks here, besides others— for instance — ^barristers who had 


served in the well-known " Devil's Own," merchants and their 
employes who had been members of the favourite London 
Scottish, or 3rd Middlesex, and other English cdrps, who 
would have joined with our volunteers if the system had been 
on a proper footing, — moreover there were many who had 
acquired certain experience both in regular military service 
and in frontier and bush life, and all of these, it was pointed 
out, would certainly prove most formidable adversaries to an, 
invading force, in defending rough or scrubby ground. 

This suggestion, coinciding with the spreading distrust of 
regular organization — partly justified by facts — ^had re-echoed 
tlirough the country with considerable effect, but the arming 
that followed was most irregular. 

Rifle clubs were formed in suburbs and villages — 
everywhere old volunteers returned to the butts to 
renew their practice, but beyond this, and a pretty 

general buying up of arms and ammimition^ nothing 
was done. Discipline, drill, and combination under regular 
officers were not only discarded by these " free rifles,'^ but all 
attempt at such organization was condemned, justly or un- 
justly, as the case might be, from late experience, as more 
likely to prove a rotton reed to lean on, than any real aid. 

After all, this was not to be wondered at, after the recent 
astounding failure. 


24 « ABMY MUNr 

Naturally^ this irregular jxxovement was jtom the side of 
authority^ condemned as wholly irrational and useles3j bat it 


came quite naturally to many of thp colonists. Not a fenf 

had spent years of their lives in distiricts where a Ipadefl rifle 
hung above the bed was a necessary part p^ the fiprnitiure pf 
the hut. Ii|pst of the colonists came of races frpm which they 
inherited far more valuable qualities than drill p^r barrack- 
yard routine. They had warlike blopd in their veins, and 
warlike traditions in their memoriea. 

A great Frenchman has said that at the first roll 
of the drum, the whole French youth fall into columns 
of companies. It is in the blood. It turned out 
that it came quite as readily to our lads to lie on their stomachs 
among the scrub and sand-hills, and squint along a barrel. 

But to most Army men, all action outside the Regular 
Service appeared useless and contemptible. 

The Volunteer Forces in the mother country had been 
shelved, the highest authorities, under the influence of their 
prejudiced professional notions, condemning them as unfit for 
active service — suited only for sentry duty — for garrisoning 
citadels when there was no enemy attacking them — and for 

This being the orthodox estimate, nothing was expected of 
the colonial volunteers, but that they would disperse quietly 
on the first symptom of danger. 


Even our Femanent Force^ thougli cammanded by officers 
of the Rjoyal Army, was snuffed at, and sneered ^oym as 
unfit to be iDentioned in the same ]breath with other re^ar 

Nearly all the wholesale well-to-do people who had 
made their fortunes, and were beginning to ignore all colo- 
nial ties, and to talk of living in England, advised in a faint 
patronising pitying tone, that we should give up all idea of 
i^fsistance, and if an enemy did appear — a most unlikely 
event — simply pay what was demanded, and trust to the 
motherly kindness of the Home Gpvernmeut to make it up 
to us. 


And lol in »pite of this deluge of cold water, here 
^ere the Permanent and Volunteer Forces daily growing in 
numbers and efficiency, while the movement spreading over 
the country seemed to promise, in addition, an irregular levy 
or arpiy of "franc-tireurs/^ Clearly the colonists — right or 
wrong— had plenty of grit and se)f-confidence, and were, if 
tliey would stand the proof, resolute to defend themselves* 

It was a moot question, according as people^s predilictions 
led them, whether this last accession was an element of 
strength, or simply a nuisance to be suppressed. 

Prejudice on both sides prevented a just estimate being 
arrived at. 

26 " HI8T0BICAL. 


The regimental officers, up to the day of action, would never 
admit that these irregulars were more than a rabble, to run 
away the first shot .fired* 

The Volunteers they could barely be civil to, but us " fircc 
rifles '^ they could by no means abide. 

No doubt they spoke according to their cloth, and it is 
remarkable that with the knowledge of military history acces- 
sible to those from whom they got their views, how such an 
estimate of the value of the Volunteer and Irregular Forces 
could have been formed. 

If the question had to be settled by argument, we might 
have cited history for the last one hundred and fifty years^ 
and pointed out instance after instance of regular armies 
being not only matched, but beaten, and at times utterly 
destroyed, by raw levies, irregulars, and armed rabbles. 

We might have begun with 1745. 

The well-appointed army, commanded by Sir John Gope^ 
was at Preston Pans utterly dispersed and destroyed^ 
by an equal number of undisciplined Highlanders. 
These Celts were used to carry arms, but probably few- 
of them before this had ever seen any worse fighting than 
a desperate cattle stealing or tavern brawl. 

Thirty years after, at Bunker's Hill, a body of Boston 
citizens, mechanics, and country people, commanded by a 
surveyor and a doctor, fought a bloody, hard-won field with 
regular British troops. 

" FACT OB NOT?'* 27 

In less than twenty years after^ the armed rabble of Paris 
drove out of Holland the armies of the Hapsbnrgs^ and the 
troops nnder the Duke of York. 

lu 1808 the citizens of Saragossa fought a French army 
for possession of their town for three days^ inflicted immense 
loss on the enemy^ and held their position. 

During the same war^ Spanish guerillas^ being armed 
peasants and civilians^ made the country so unsafe for the 
French^ that it needed the escort of a regiment to take a 
letter from one position to another. 

- In 1814 the best of our Peninsular veteran regiments were 
beaten back from before New Orleans by General Andrew 
Jackson^ commanding a rabble of back-woodsmen^ shop-boys^ 
and roughs^ entrenched behind cotton bales. 

Within our own memories, Garibaldi, accompanied by a 
few hundred adherents, landed in Sicily, and gathering force 
as he moved on, passed to Naples, and, without regular 
discipline or organization, drove King Bomba with his 
regular army out of his kingdom. 

Now, it would have been fair to ask our military Solomons, 
" Is this history, or is it not ? " 

It may certainly be read differently at the Horse 
Guards, but many of our people here believed these 
tilings to be true, and the theory they founded on the 
same they intended to put in practice if necessary. 


98 ''Bouaiira up:- 

mi they would on no account have it that they were at all 
worsp jnen, pr could pull worse triggers from living south of 
the line. 

This general movement in New South Wales was about the 
first evidence of the rising manhood of the country. A 
spurious prosperity had for years covered the community 
with a growth of proud flesh| and the healthy current of 
national life was clogged. We were becoming a nation of 
pawnbrokers and publicans. But of all our fields of action 
the political was the busiest, the most useless, and the most 
corrupt. Three Ministries had followed each other within the 
last two years. 

A new Government was hardly in office before the party 
ejected assumed the rdle of their opponents ; they stopped 
supplies, wasted time in personal attacks and verbiose 
blackguardism, and sometimes within a fortnight brought 
in a vote of want of confidence. The last Ministry had 
been put put three weeks ago by a vote on the Defences, 
and their successful opponents signalised their entrance into 
office by appointing two Commissioners for Defence, at 
salaries of £2,000 a-year each — Messrs. Bummington and 
Puzzr These functionaries held seats in the Cabinet and 
were Members of Assembly. They were to have full 
authority over the troops and armaments, and, under their 
responsibility to Parliament, to provide for the safety of the 




country. The House generally sat now for thirty-six hours 
«t a stretchy talking against time^ the only work done being 
maKing new billets^ and the undisguised aim of the Opposi- 
tion being simply to have their hands again into the Treasitry. 
This long preamble will serve to shew our readers what we 
were about in New South Wales when the storm of invasion 
burst upon us^ and what in fact was passing through my 
head as I walked across to my neighbour Smith's. 

Meanwhile^ reverting to my own home, to Kate and her 
treasure, the '^dulce domum/' I felt that she was as safe 
here as she could be anywhere on this side of the Mountains^ 
as we were fuUy eight miles from the nearest part of the 
town, and off the main road. 

With the calamity that seemed to threaten us, there would 
be thousands of women and children in actual immediate 
peril, including some whose safety I was bound to provide 
for, and if I saw to the present security of my little house- 
hold, it was all that could be thought of. 

As I reached the well-known rose covered porch. Smith 
came out, looking cheerful, alert, and jolly as ever, but I was 
staggered with the change in his outward man. A douce 
respectable town body, rigged out in character for a dog- 
fighting or poaching adventure, may partly convey the 
impression which my friend's attire gave me, and the old 


grey tweed suit and leather leggings in which he had pleased 
to array himself inight have left me in wonder as to what lie 
was up to^ but that a serviceable Hay rifle was in his hand, 
and a weighty pouch was on the broad black belt that girt 

In following out the events of that memorable day, I 
cannot but wonder how largely the ludicrous is mixed up with 
the horrible in my recollections. Deeply anxious as I and 
thousands more were, and fully conscious not only of the 
peril to life and limb, but, what was of much more consequence, 
the risk to all who were dear to us, I can aver, that 
absurdities and extravagances were indulged in through the 
whole time while everything of ours in the world hung in 
the balance. 

The prospect of conflict seemed to evolve from con- 
genial natures a certain instinct of sport, and I don't 
exaggerate the least when I say that a vast number of men 
enjoyed themselves thoroughly, even when they carried away 
on their persons lasting marks of the day's doings — and they 
will tell you to this day they would not have been absent for 

I have at times thought that this recoil of the spirit, 
whether from nervous excitement, or the rising of the 
physical courage to meet danger, may be part of our heritage 
from our Norse and Celtic ancestors. 


Sailors still cheer when the masts fall and the good ship is 

rent to fragments on the bar — just after the fashion of the 

old Berserkars^ — ^and soldiers have laughed in the face of 

death elsewhere than in the pages of Lever ; and does not 
the same blood run in the veins of us Australians ? Be that 
as it may^ many can bear me out that this was the spirit 
in which numbers of our people met the day of danger. 

It had arisen with the times. Living for long on the 
dead Boeotion level of peace and money-makings we were 
becoming a very dull people. The thoughts of few in these 
former years rose out of the groove of daily work and ready 
money. The literature most valued and best paid among us 
was the knack of cooking an advertisement. Science was un- 
appreciated^ unless it could be made subservient to doctpring 
grogs or starting bogus schemes. Humour we had absolutely 
none. Fun and wit were superseded by buffoonery and 
dramatised boorishness. 

But as soon as the people took in the idea that they were 
carrying their lives and fortunes in their hands^ depths of 
feeling dormant for long were stirred into healthy vigor, and 
the immediate outcome to be seen all around was a cheerful- 
ness and almost a levity of demeanour in vivid contrast to 
the staid and smug business-like deportment ii^hich had for 
long been the ^'mode.'^ As for myself, even in the most 
anxious moments, I was subject to fits of school-boy frivolity. 


and in spite of the overwhelming ttrgency of the occasion^ 
when I saw Smith's figure, I wondered, turned him round, 
and grinned. 

Being one of the " free rifles/' he had donned what he 
thought an appropriate costume, and to say the truth, it 
was far from unsuitable for bush fighting. 

What amused me was, that, the combination of tints as 
well as the outline of the figure gave him much the look 
of a grey magpie. Before many hours, I got full ocular 
proof of the fallacies of our military costume. 

A red coat in day-light could be seen even in wooded 
ground, a good half mile ofi^, while the grey and black in 
which Smith was clothed, among tea-tree foliage and black 
stumps could barely be distinguished a hundred yards away. 

He looked at me with his usual comical expression of self- 
satisfied assurance — ^pointing down towards Botany, and 
leaning on his rifle. 

" Now, then,'' he said at length, " Who's right ? Do you 
hear them ?" 

I listened in the direction he pointed, and no doubt df it, 
though faint, there was firing to the eastward. I could hear 
both the boom of the cannon and the dropping rattle of 
musketry come up the wind. 

^' But— firing has been common lately — ^are they really 
here ?" 



'' Twelve steamers came into Botany at two this morning. 
I was down to Burwood to make sure, and I was just on 
my way to tell you. There's rare sport on the Botany 
road, or Fm mistaken/' 

I was sobered in a moment. " God help us Smith — ^such 
sport !" 

^^Come, come, old fellow, none of that; 'away with 
melancholy j' there's only one way to go into action. Keep 
a stiff upper lip. It's too late to think of spilled milk. You 
can't move your family now ; and I'll be bound they're much 
better staying where they are than for you to make the 
attempt, unless you can get them right beyond the Hawkes- 
bury. But I believe both railway and road will be blocked. 
I wish you had sent them with mine all the same." 

*'By the bye, Mrs. Walker might go over to old Mrs. 
Johnstone, and they could keep each other company. I 
believe it will be all over to-day, and if you cannot look 
after them I will. So, quick, settle all that and get your 
shooting-iron and come on." 

*' Bless you for your promise, old man, and I will send my 
wife to Mrs. Johnstone's ; its a capital idea. But I have some 
other women folks to see to in Sydney in the first place, so 
you had better \go on, and I will follow." 

*' Goodbye then ; I'll look out for you." And he was off 
to join a neighbour driving in on the same errand. A light 



waggon stopped at the corner^ and I saw him get in beside 
two young fellows — one of them a noted rifle shot. Soth of 
them made good scores that day^ and got through unscathed. 

The next time I saw Smith he was in St. Paul's College, 
on a stretcher, with a broken arm and a bayonet wound 
through his thigh. 

In a very few moments I was home. I had caught and 
saddled my mare, and went into the house for my kit and 
carbine. I had also to arrange all for Kate-^to tell her what 
to do— and get the parting over. Smith's suggestion as to 
her going to our good old friend Mrs. Johnstone, was 
excellent. It was only half a mile off, and she with the boy 
and maid could easily walk there. The example and protec- 
tion of a lady of age and experience were the very thing she 
needed. I felt that leaving her so placed, I could go without 

One of the noticeable features of this time was seen in the 
various forms in which our women were affected when the 
storm burst upon us. 

Some seemed to grasp at once the whole circumstances 
involved in the word " war," and many of them acted with 
a courage, promptitude, presence of mind and humanity 
wonderful to observe and difficult to account for. Others, 
apparently differing little from these in every day life, gave 


way to senseless and selfish terror^ and made tfaemseiveff 
nuisances to their husbands and to every one else. These 
were the two extremes. 

Those between, the common-place, and the young and 
inexperienced, gravitated towards the one type or the other, 
very much according to the example set them, and among 
the last was my little Kate. 

Seeing that the approved education of girls consists mainly 
in the re-iteration of certain "must'nts^^ and "sha'nts,'' with 
a mechanical learning of accomplishments, manners, catechism 
and scales, it is not surprising that their thinking faculties are 
not much developed thereby. 

We do not need to read of Dora, the child-wife of Dickens, 
to know that there are plenty of amiable, gentle girls 
among us who are content to take all their ideas from those 
near them, and whose thoughts hardly reach beyond the 
happy home circles in which they dwell. 

Nevertheless, there were hundreds who, like Kate, had 
sterling character under this child-Uke exterior, and to 
such, the events of that day acted like years of experience and 

But now, as I passed her door, I got proof that she 
was not in the least prepared for the fiery trial that was 
upon us. She was singing and playing with her child. Her 
words showed- that she had heard of the event of the 


morning, but she had as plainly failed to realise in her own 
mind the horrors, most likely enacting not far off. If I might 
judge from her unconscious levity, her idea of military inva- 
sion was something of the nature of a parade or an Opera 
with a^good deal of dress, music, and fireworks. I really 
believe that if I had told her to come for a drive and see the 
battle, she would have dressed herself and little Johnny, and 
been ready waiting for the buggy without a shade of mis- 
giving ; but the first sight of slaughter would have burst like 
a revelation upon her, and she would have sunk in a phrenzy 
of fear and disgust. She did not know then, she knew 
before long what a grisly filthy monster war is. But I felt 
80 far relieved. 

As long as these facts were not objectively presented to 
her, I might* get the parting over without needless fuss, 
and then I trusted to Mrs. Johnstone's experience to pre- 
pare her for what might happen. 

Such was my selfish wisdom, and the consequences will, 
be seen. I had purposely talked in a frivolous way about 
the prospect of this very danger, turning it into a joke, 
and I really was fool enough to believe that the best way 
to consult a woman's comfort, was to deceive her on dis- 
agreeable subjects. 

So I wrote a note to the old lady, for Kate to take, and 
after buckling my accoutrements on the saddle, I went back 
to say a few words. " Kate, dear, you must go over to Mrs. 


Johnstone^s^ and take Johnny and the girl^ and stay there till I 
come back^ and give her this note. And if there's any dis- 
turbance in the town, you are better with her than anywhere 
else for the day. Meantime I must go to see after Mrs. White, 
and Elly. You know they have no one else to look after 
them.'' Mrs. White is the widow of an old friend, and 
Eleanor is our cousin, married to Jack Mitchell, who is most 
of the time away bank-inspecting, and of course I was bound 
before doing anything else to see to the safety of those ladies. 

Kate approved — only of course she begged me to be care- 
ful— but her mind was not yet impressed with any positive 
idea of danger to me or herself and child; and I kissed 
them and made my way to the gate, keen to be down the road, 
when the irrepressible Marchioness burst out behind me. 

"Oh please Sir, don't go — oh please missus mum — the 
grocer's cart's here, and he says as how they're batterin' Sydney 
all to pieces, and they've made the Exhibition into a hospital, 
and there's 'undreds and 'undreds of poor unfortunets which 
their legs and arms is shot off, and the doctors cutting them 
up like anythink ! " 

This grisly narrative fairly put the fat in the fire. It 
upset all my fine-drawn scheme for letting my wife down 
easy. I felt at once how wrongly I had acted in not telling 
her more of what really was going on. The thought made me 
feel like a savage, and with the usual injustice of a man in fault. 



I was ready to blame anybody but myself. I would not stop 
now. I held on rapidly for the gate^ pretending not to bear, 
but Kate was after me like a shot. 

She took one side of the oval fence, shrieking, '^ Willy, 
Willy, stay with me and Johnny," and the Marchioness 
took the other side, yelling a running commentary on 
battle, murder, and sudden death, while Johnny, abandoned 
in the verandah, opened his mouth and howled like a small 
fat demon. 

Usually I beUeve I am tenderly considerate of my wife — not 
to be maudUnly sentimental — but in my present temper 
to be clung to and screp,med at — on such a day too — ^was more 
than I could stand, and I wrenched myself away. 

Cuddy Headrigg, when he tore himself away from his 
loving and yelling Jenny on a like occasion, expressed him- 
self in a rough way. I am sure that I did not repeat Cuddy's 
remark, but I must have said something that I should not, 
for the consciousness of my harshness made me turn my head 
as I reached the saddle, and there was a woe-begone crying 
face. '* Could it be her Willie who had spoken to her in 
that way? Oh dear!" 

My roughness and impatience had been shameful. I had 
acted like a wild beast, and I myself alone was the cause of 
this outbreak. I had not neglected her safety and comfort 
indeed, and I fully believed — what turned out to be the fact, 


namely — ^that our house was beyond the circumference within 
which the explosion would expend itself. I was not to blame 
86 far^ but I had treated her like a child in not preparing her 
better for a possible event. 

Now — the crisis had come — actual danger was the only 
thing to be considered. Nervous alarm and acute sensi- 
bilities were neither to be encouraged nor tolerated; but 
I had caused this paroxysm by luUing her in a fool's paradise, 
and I got good proof before the day was over, that if fore- 
warned, she could have braced her mind to meet whatever 
fate might send. 

I was plainly wrong. My folly, blindness, and injustice 
rose up against me, and I dismounted to soothe her and make 
all right again. " Now Kate, don't be foolish ; suppose 
the worst has happened. We have expected it, and should 
be ready (this was humbug.) You and Johnny will be safe, 
and with others in real danger and distress, it will not do to 
think only of ourselves. Surely you would not have me 
abandon our friends and countrymen at such a time, and show 
myself a laggard. What would you say of any man who 
stayed at home to nurse his wife on a day like this.'' 

The poor little woman's pride was touched, and she com- 
posed herself though she said good-bye with a quivering lip. 
But she set out directly, helped Mrs. Johnstone to make up 
things for the hospital, and behaved like a trump before the 
day was over. 


I determined even then — always in future— if a future was 
in store for me— to tell my wife the plain truth about every- 
thing^ and to lay down as an axiom for my guidance^ that 
she has quite as much sense^ if not more than myself. 

I was free at last^ and Black Bess flew down the road as 
she had not done for twelve months. 

As I got on to the main line at Burwood I saw that a 
panic had set in. Garts^ carriages of all kinds^ omnibuses^ 
and buggies, crowded the western thoroughfare. 

The Railway Station was blockaded by a crowd waiting, 
hampered with every conceivable description of baggage and 
furniture, and the same was to be seen at every other station 


on the line. 

When I got to Petersham I could hear the firing distinctly ; 
there was for a time a lull with only an occasional shot, and 
then for a moment or two it rose to a continued roar, and 
while these heavy volleys re-echoed the crowd swayed and 
the people crushed and trampled each other. 

These fugitives had a type of their own. Terror and 
tenacity in clinging to their property were the ruling 

Egoism in all shapes of selfishness and fear was seen 
around, sometimes relieved by the more human instinct of 
the family, but even then it was simply that, "my wife,, 

MB. JONES, 41 

my children/^ took the place of ''my life, my property ;'' all 
others might be trampled in the dirt so long as their oum 
were saved. 

One disgusting proverb was in all their mouths — 
''Every man for himself, and God for us all/' They were 
evidently what, if we were classing them in a sale-yard as 
stock, we would call " culls/' I was glad that my wife and 
child were not in that struggling trampling crowd, but I 
don't think in any case we should have joined in such a 

The men had all narrow foreheads and goggle eyes. They 
were like those who used to hang about G — ^v — e's Rooms,, 
and other haunts of mining projectors in 1873, the lawful 
prey of the clever rogues who floated the bubble schemes of 
that day. They were now following each other in the same 
way, like a flock of sheep. 

Among them I met little Jones, of the great tea warehouse. 
He was sweating after a dray on which were packed Mrs. 
Jones, seven children, and their best piano, and he was 
carrying a bottle of cordial and a mug, and mopping him- 
self with a child's pinafore. Mrs. Jones was evidently of 
the vulgar-genteel kind. She sat "yammerin" at Jones, 
as the cause of all this distress. 

The children, too, seemed spoiled, and treated their uxorious 
perspiring parent to the same chorus. I felt, like Bums 


when similarly annoyed^ that I could have '^charmed her 
with the magic of a switch/' and the brats too. Jones^ 
seeing me, stopped to puff and blow. 

'^ Bless me, Mr. Walker, ain't it dreadful; dreadful — 
this ain't in my line at all ; — ^think of my pore wife and 
children turned out of doors." Mrs. Jones now felt herself 
neglected, and screamed at Jones for her drops — brandy, I 
expect — and the poor little slave of ,a husband had to climb 
up in the dray with his bottle. '^ Oh, my pore dear wife.'* 

" Bless your pore dear wife,^' was my unfeeling reflection 
as I dug the spurs into Bess, and spun along, '^ I hope some 
of the women are keeping their senses." 

At first I had to go through some fences, the road was so 
full, but it thinned very much before I reached Camper- 
down, and beyond that there were only occasional groups. 
I found the reason for that by and by. 

I speedily reached Redfern. I rode into the station to 
look round and ask questions. There never was seen before 
such a well dressed crowd blockading the terminus. The 
opening of the Exhibition and the last night of Madame 
Ristori were nothing to it. 

All vested interests were represented there, from the Bank 
to the back-slums of Queer-street. 

There is a wonderful sympathy in wealth, and in what 
goes by the name of "respectability." Money is money, 
however it may be got. 


King Jamie^ to whom we have already referred^ remarked 
in reference to certain vicious accumulations^ " non olet j '* 
and if the produce of fraud and profligacy did not offend the 
royal nostril, why should we be nice ? 

But, mind — I don't say that the best people of Sydney 
were at the terminus — ^though money and success were 
largely represented. 

There is a principle embodied in the axiom ''noblesse oblige," 
which no doubt would have been quite incomprehensible to 
the swell crowd waiting, and they would have been amazed 

if they had known how certain families — the R ns, for 

instance*-and others that I could name, only I have no 
authority, were spending that morning. 

Not that I knew half a dozen of those big folks ; I go 
nowhere. Being only a working surveyor, the owner of a 
cottage ajid a paddock, I suppose among the families of the 
commercial and financial magnates waiting for the train I 
would not even be classed as a gentleman. 

I have tried to give a hint as to who were not there ; I 
must now, to be fair, tell who were. Well, then, among the 
prominent elements represented in seal-skin and velvet were, 
grog, — ^kite-flying,— and successful insolvency. 

I hesitate to refer to a fourth source of wealth,— for 'our 
morals are so squeamish,— so I must say at once it is to 
the recipients I allude as being present, who are stainless 


as the Maids of Honour — ^those who earn the money are 

not so much so. The plain truth is that many handsome 
carriages are run^ and many churches are towered and 
sculptured from rentals produced by certain poor^ vulgar^ 
improper persons. 

I must confess that my sympathies are at present entirely 
with these last^ for I heard from many men how the wounded 
were^ on that day nursed and cared for by these poor 
Magdalenes. And yet^ it was said that the wives and sisters 
of the patients turned away from these nurses with hard 
pitiless faceS; even when they found them doing all that 
charity and mercy could inspire for suffering strangers. 

Alas, the times are out of joint. Surely some day yet the 
social balance will not always be thus double-weighted against 
those poor outlaws. 

The cup of cold water given in kindness bears blessings, 
and for those female sinners we may well put in the same 
plea as once prevailed of old, " Qyia multum amavit" or, 
as the vulgate hath it, " Because she loved much.'* But 
Heaven forbid that such remarks should be held to apply 
to those doves of fashion in the railway shed — ^they recked 
little of either charity or mercy — ^money was more to the 
purpose with them. 

I was told that special trains at £200 each had been 
running since four in the morning, till an order from the 


Commissioner compelled the drivers to leave their goods at 
the first sidings and come back. 

Imagine the sufferings of those " gentle gazelles " turned 
adrift in the wilderness ! Half Waratah Point were thus 
''bushing it^' between Picton Lagoons and Nattai. 

The remainder were with their beloved Pastor, waiting 
for their train, long ordered but ungraciously delayed. 

Among the crime de la crime, thus slighted, was the Hon. 
Mrs. Haybag, with her five daughters. They are very high 
Church, and do not care much for common colonial society. 

No wonder, considering the blue blood that runs in their 
veins. Their grand-papa was the celebrated left-handed 
flogger at Barrigal Stockade, and he married a lady who ran 
a bum-boat on Monaro, called Carroty Sal, A bum-boat was 
a two-horse dray, carrying a hogshead of rum and a red 

There were also one or two of those superior creatures, 
hierarchs in the Temple of Mammon, whom we common 
people look up to as super-angelic in their nature. Their 
papas, by dealing in sugar, rum, and shoddy, had got the 
pull of the Banks, and now, through playing the game of 
**beggar-my-neighbour^' with the cogged dice called ^'dis- 
count,^^ they had achieved possession of millions of acres 
of Crown lands and hundreds of thousands of sheep and 



As I looked on one serene^ self-satisfied^ orthodox-looking 
version of a prosperous and bumptious Tittlebat Titmouse^ 
I remembered the Waramba Station Account in 1867, made 
up quarterly with 4J per cent, added each time, and " ecce 
signum !" here was the magnificent result. 

You say why should not such grandees fight for their 
country ? 

My dear Sir, finance has no country — at least he — ^the 
person in question, Jiad secured as much country as he could 
already, and how can you fairly expect gentlemen to aid in 
the common defence who have abeady paid in hard cash 
£130 for Volunteer Land Orders ! 

Is not that enough ? . DonH you think your comments 
indecent ? Surely you have not learned your catechism ! 

Beside him there was a fashionable doctor, with soft, 
unctuous voice, a turn for gossip, and delicate hands. He 
did not know much about doctoring, and he disliked those 
nasty surgical operations which were already coming into 
requisition, but he had an excellent practice, for he was so 
gentleman — or rather so lady-Uke. 

There were not many men though, on the whole — ^mostly 
women capitalists, and a parson or two. 

There was nothing to be learned there — the twaddle they 
talked was frightful. 


'^ England should have protected them'' — '^They knew 
the colonial troops and volunteers would fail when they were 
wanted.'* — " It was cowardly and unlike a gentleman for the 
Russian commander to attack a place where there were people 
of wealth and position" — '' It all arose from vulgar ' demo- 
cratic government/ '* 

At last " our beloved pastor " put the cap upon it, and 
washed his hands of the whole business, when with meekly 
folded hands he simpered out in a gentle modulated monotone 
'' that war was a thing of this world — ^that we of the church 
had chosen the better part — that the prevalent infidelity was 
no doubt the cause of this judgment, — and so let us go out 
from them, for we are not of them/* 

I had heard quite enough of this rot. The Berserkar blood 
or something akin to it, was bubbling up within me, and a 
lingering regard for the " convenances,*' barely prevented me 
from treating the company to a rallying whoop, such as will 
turn a mob of scrub cattle a quarter of a mile a-head. But 
I took it out in spurring Bess, and she shot down Brickfield 
Hill as if she had a hornet on her 'croupe. 

I heard afterwards that this last party at the station was 
shunted on to a coalsiding at the Junction, after being in 
mortal terror of being fired into, and they were left there, 
while the guard and engineers brought down another train, 
with the Hawkesbury Volunteers — and I rejoiced greatly at 
the same. 


A patrol of armed constables held all George-street to keep 
the traffic clear and prevent the gathering of itiobs.-^An ugly 
feature in the disorder of the day was the swarming at every 
street comer of the larrikin element^ plundering and molesting 
women^ and mobbing unprotected people under the pretence 
of helping them. I am glad to say that a good many of 
these vermin paid the penalty for their misdeeds before the 
clay was over. If the Russians had got in^ our own rabble 
would have burned and plundered the town — so much for 
the want of compulsory education. 

As I went on, I became aware that there was a steady 
migration by the cross streets towards Darling Harbour. 
"The people were getting across the water by the Pyrmont 
Bridge and the Balmain ferries. 

When I reached Market-street, I found out the cause. 

A hoarse scream sounded a hundred yards ahead of me^ 
accompanied with the crash of a chimney, and an explosion 
on the pavement, that smashed in part of the bar-front of the 
Royal Hotel, and sent splinters of wood and stone all about. 

The enemy outside the Heads was sheUing the Town. 

I heard afterwards that the ironclads Tsargrad, Faskevitch^ 
and Suwarrow were standing of and on under the Gap, 
making this diversion, while Milarovitch ran into Botany 
Bay with 6000 men. 


Though the people were flying from the east side of the 
city, it is marvellous how few casaulties there were. A cab, 
with horse, driver and all, was knocked into smithereens in 
Bridge- street, and one of the stone saints on St. Mary's 
Cathedral was reduced to powder, but the shells seemed mostly 
to drop into the Gardens or the water. 

Still there was no wonder at the general terror, and I was 
glad that my little house-hold was nine miles off. I found 
that the first result of the alarm was to cause a rush to the 
Railway Station and the Western Road, but I had seen the 
last of that as I rode in. Some shots by skirmishers to the 
west of Waterloo conveyed the idea to the panic-stricken 
crowd that the enemy were approaching Newtown. Some 
who had started for the Railway came back — ^those who went 
by the last train got a fright, and all followed the current 
that had set in across Darling Harbour. 

The Post OflBce was shut, as was every business place, ex- 
cepting the public-houses, which were lively. 

The Telegraph OflBce seemed in full work, and the yard 
was full of the mounted boys, who were coming and going un- 

As I passed the colonnade, a mounted oflBcer galloped up 
from the back— I recognised Major Ranger. 

" For God's sake, Mr. Walker, do something for me. I 
can get nothing done here. The Commissioners for Defence 
are sitting up-stairs, and they cannot spare a messenger or 


clerk. Its my opinion they're playing Old Harry with the 
whole business — so far as they can. — ^You have a good horse. 
Hunt up all the cabs or other vehicles you can — get a dozen 
if possible^ and bring them to the Brigade Office at once.— 
Get them by hook or by crook — give or promise anything 
you like, — I'll pay whatever they cost. It's very pressings 
so excuse further explanation. You'll find me at the office.'* 

I said I would willingly, and guessing the cabmen's haunts^ 
Fmanaged before long to drum up a dozen with cash, liberal 
promises, and liquor. 

They had been doing a great trade in the early part of the 
morning, but the Bridge-street tragedy had scared them. 

However, I pointed out that the doctrine of chances was 
clearly against a cab being hit a second time — ^the next would 
certainly be a private carriage or a 'bus, and I coaxed them 
up to the Brigade Office — I ran into the gate. 

There was nobody in attendance, but I guessed my way by 
the infernal noise that arose from the lower regions. A stair 
led under some out-houses, and at the bottom of this the row 
was^raised. Banger was there with four sturdy artillery-men, 
a couple of them evidently being black-smiths. They had 
their shirts off, and were doing their best to burst in an iron- 
plated door that looked like the entrance to a vault. Fore- 
hammer, pinch, and wedges were in full play — I guessed 
what was up — ^^ For heaven's sake take care, the concussion 
might cause a blow-up." 


" So it might," said the Major, " and it would be a pity to 
have one's life fooled away at such a time/' 

At last a hinge yielded — a lever went in — a wedge beneath 
— a few more thundering strokes, and the door turned over 
and fell with a clatter that drowned the explosion of a shell 
which at that moment crashed in the roof of the Honorable 
John Fraser's Store. 

This, it turned ouf, was about the last shell fired from 
the Heads. It had been banking up to to the south-east, and 
the gale piped up about eleven. The war steamers had to 
hold up for Botany to get shelter, and this was perhaps the 
turning point of the day. 

Ranger caught my arm and led me aside — *^ You'll not 
believe what's going on, Walker. These infernal fools are 
enough to drive one mad. We, I mean the officers of the 
Volunteer Staff, anticipated the very muddle about ammuni- 
tion that has taken place. We are in action now, and there 
are companies with hardly a cartridge — waggons have gone 
out with the wrong cartridges, and with cases supposed to 
contain cartridge and filled with other sto|;es, and the 
Ordnance Staff is racing up and down between Victoria 
Barracks and Goat Island without having the least clew as 
to where the right stock is. We partly expected this, — so 
we stowed away, on the quiet, two hundred thousand 
under our own office, believing that we could always lay our 
hands on them, and you'll not credit me— these Defence 


Commissioners Messrs. Bummington and Buzz have actually 
sent our Staff Sergeant with the key of cellar down to George's 
Head Battery/' 

It turned out afterwards, thfit the Sergeant, when he re- 
ceived this- order, which he was obliged to obey, handed the 
key to Mr. Bummington, telling him clearly what it was. 

That great man, with a mind above detail, put it in his 
pocket and kept it there, and he says to this day that if Major 
Banger had only asked for it, he might have had it at once! 

However, the cartridges were got out, and the cabs were 
there, so we might do yet. 

They were speedily filled with ammunition and artillery- 
men. The last driver proved rusty. 

" Look here — ^ten sovereigns is my fare before I move, 
and that's the way to say it;'' but the Major was ready 
for him. 

'' Here, Wilson, pull him down, and drive the cab your- 
self." Wilson slapped the butt of his carbine — '^ Come now, 
young man, better go easy" — ^the other cabbies shouted at 
him to ^^ come on," and the cabs were off to Moore Park. 

Major Ranger thanked me for my help, and asked me if I was 
for the front. I said I would be out presently, so he started 
off, and I never saw him again. 

I hurried 'then to look after Mrs. White and my cousin. 
Eleanor. I found both ladies together working away at lint 
and bandages. 


I told them what was going on^ so far as I knew^ and re- 
commended them to stay where they were^ and keep on the 
basement of the house. 

Jack Mitchell had been in — ^had got his rifle and old 
uniform and was away to the front — ^as was to be expected 
if he got the chance — ^it was in the breed — if there was 
powder burnings it would be queer if the Major's son was 
not there. 

''And he looks such a guy as you never saw," said 

" Why Elly/' I said, '' do you know what's going on ?" 
I was amazed to find a woman not in the gushing and heart- 
broken line. 

'' Of course, I know what's going on— Am not I a soldier's 
daughter — and have not we all talked over the prospect of what 
is going on now, often ? My Jack's kit has been strapped 
up ready for weeks, and he has gone with his wife's blessing. 
Every woman in Sydney has her all at risk this day, and why 
should I be better off than others ? " 

This was so new and unexpected, that I spun my hat in 
the air and kissed her. ''Why — cousin EUy — ^you're a 

But she very properly rebuked me for my levity and said 
** Wiljy, don't be a goose, and throw your best hat about 
that way. There's an old box of your's in Jack's room with 
a uniform in it. Had not you better put it on ? " 


I went to look at the things — There was an old undress 
flannel tunic and volunteer cap of 1861. I put them on, 
and these same old rags saved my life, as will be seen by-and-by. 

There's no mistake about EUy — she is a plum. — ^But then 
you see, poor little Kate's mother is one of those good kind 
of women, always distributing tracts, reading aloud, and 
sewing moral quilts — ^but I do think that Kate, through my 
example, is gradually working away from the maternal 

So I said good-bye to the ladies, and as I rode round the 
corner of Bligh-street, there was Walton the orderly, powder- 
ing down the hill with his sword on his thigh, and a huge 
bundle of yellow posters from the Government Printing OflSce 
under his arm. 

At thci same moment behind me arose a well-known voice, 
and there was Mr. ^^ Garden Honey '' plying his vocation. 

The cessation of the shelling had brought people out of 
doors, and he was doing a roaring trade selling to the quid- 
nuncs at the gates, and chance pedestrians, telegrams from 
the front at five shillings each. 

'' Witty — ^witty — witty — Terrible conflict — Heroic defence 
by the First Regiment — ^Advance of the Rooshians stopped 
— Skirmishing on the Sand-hills — ! " 

Walton twigged him in a moment. " Hallo, old man !** 
''Momin, Guvnor,'' said Mr. Honey. 


" Look here— stick a lot of them up — one at every comer 
— ^three or four at the Parliament House in Macquarie-street 
— a couple at the Supremo Court — and I'll make your fortune 
for you/* 

"Well, I'm blessed/' said Mr. Honey — "anything else you 
would like ? What are they — ^let's see them/' 

Walton handed him a bundle, and seeing me stopping 
to hsten, presented me with one. I read. 




The coimtry being in danger, all functions of Grovemment are till 
further notice vested in the Military Authorities, — and all loyal subjects 
are hereby commanded and enjoined to place their services at the dis- 
posal of the Of&cers commanding. 

The Commandant of the Forces alone is authorised from the time this 
Proclamation is issued to take charge of the Defence. 

Take notice that disturbances or disorderly gatherings in the streets 
will be dispersed by the fire of musketry at the discretion of the 
officers in command. 

The Governor has full confidence in the loyalty and courage of the 
people. He goes to the front himself, and invites all able to serve to 
foUow him. 

The Public Buildings will be fitted as Hospitals, and to the women of 
Sydney the care of the wounded, the bereaved and helpless is confided. 

H. XV. — , K.C.B., 

Governor of New South Wales. 

" You stick them up so that everybody will see them ; 
some here, for instance." 


And both Clubs were speedily adorned with the placards. 

There were no members at the Union — ^they seemed all 
better employed. 

One old gentleman came out of the Australian — read the 
Proclamation and approved highly — ^so much so that he 
ordered Walton and Mr. Honey something to drink^ which 
wa^ duly served on the pavement. 

'^ But Guv'nor," said Mr. Honey, his memory refreshed 
by the liquid—^* what am I to get ? I'll stick 'em up, and 

I say as how Sir H is doing right ; but could'nt you get 

me made something — a Judge, or a Bishop say — I don't 
mind which.^' 

" Look here,'' grinned Walton, " I don't mind if I advise 
his Excellency to send for you to form a Ministry, when 
things get quiet — I'm hanged if you would not do better than 
either of the Defence Commissioners as they call them. 
Speak of the devil — if they're not here. I must be off;" 
and Walton hammered along to distribute his Proclamations 
and follow the Governor to the front. 

Bummington and Buzz came along and eyed the yellow 
poster- — ^they read it and scowled — ^the bystanders in spite of 
the general calamity chuckled, and the insulted tribunes took 
their way in gloomy mood to Macquarie-street. 

The Governor had at last taken resolute action. 
Parliamentary government had degenerated to huckstering 
jobbery, and idiotic incompetence. 

A Q,C, 67 

Acting on Ids high commission from the Crown^ and with 

full confidence in the support of the people. Sir H had 

done a bold and wise thing. 

When he put out his Proclamation and went to the front, 
all the manhood of the country rose to follow him. 

As I rode up the hill, a party of horsemen galloped along 

There was the well-known figure on a black bang^tailcd 
Tocal horse, and on His Excellency's right, there rode on a 
frisky grey, a plump bounding form, in a tight blue frock 
coat and light waistcoat. 

Valor blazed in the eye of the gallant Q.C., and it also 
tinged his chops with magenta — It seemed also to swell his 
portly form, for each caracole that he encountered threatened 
to burst his buttons off. 

If courage to meet danger — and more than that — if en- . 

durance to ride a light-mouthed horse on a hard saddle for a 

whole day — could entitle a man to the New Decoration, the 
Southern Cross, D y deserved it. 

l^e Gk)vemor had been all the morning arranging for the 
distribution of the numbers of men, who as expected, came 
forward on the issue of the Proclamation. 

One Commission to carry out these arrangements, sat at 
the Supreme Court, another at the Town Hall. 

One body of men was detailed as special constables to keep 
the peace of the town, and allow the removal elsewhere of the 
armed poHce. 


Another was told oflf to strengthen the fire companies ; 

A third to throw up a line of barricades across all the 
approaching throughfares in case the troops had to fall back ; 

And a fourth body was to prepare the public buildings for 
the reception of the wounded. All those who had arms were 
meantime to be posted behind the barricades in reserve. 

But already the " irregulars " were in scores on the flanks 
of the troops and hanging round the enemy on all sides^ and 
their number was increasing every hour. 

His Excellency was soon in Moore Park and I was not long 
behind him. 

There was now a skirmishing fire going on over a front of 
above a mile. — at intervals there would be an attack in force 

on some point —indicated by a continuous roar of cannon and 

I remembered the story oft-read of Hougomont and La 
Haye Sainte^ and understood it. 

It was now nearly twelve o'clock, and before going further 
I must try to glean up for my kind and patient reader an 
account of the day's proceedings since the signal gun fired at 
two in the morning. 

AT 2 AM. 69 

Few in Sydney will forget the morning of the 18th May, 
187 — ^when the signal- gun at the Flag-staff fired by wire, 
and the electric light at the Town Hall answering that at 
Botany, told that the enemy was entering the Bay in force. 

The tolling of the bells — ^the beating of the drums —the 
sound of the Volunteer's bugles — ^re-echoed through every 
street, while scared white faces, looking more ghastly in the 
Uvid'Ught, appeared at every window. 

The thoroughfares instantly swarmed with groups of people 
in the full buzz of alarm and enquiry, — presently to be 
jostled and scattered by the hundreds of armed Volun- 
teers already hurrying to the Southern suburbs. 

There was no sign shewn by them of that white-livered faint- 
heartedness which had been foretold by rational people. If 
they were in a funk, the fear seemed to be that they would 
not be in time,-^and but for the accessories of time and 
place^ one might have fancied that they were bound for some 
national sport or entertainment. 

The City Begiment went off at once to their regular place 
of muster — Moore Park. It was well that they did so, and 
lucky that their pouches were full of ball-cartridge. 

Many a merry sham-fight had they of old on the ground 
beyond — the scrubby sand-hills on the Bunnerong Road. 
The rehearsal was now to be changed to grim tragedy, and 
they were to give proof with their heart's-blood that the 
uniforms they wore were not put on either for the sake of 



Land-Orders or from childish frivolity. Strange to say, as 
they arrived breathless on the ground — fell into their 
companies — ^and told off from right to left — ^they were in 
high spirits ; but they were hushed quickly into silence when 
a prolonged^hollow reverberation that seemed to shake earth 
and air rose from the south — quivered in the upper atmos- 
phere, and died away in echo after echo among the distant 
hills. What could it be ? '' The Torpedoes V ' " Then— it's 
all over — I suppose we may go^home V not yet. 

"Steady there — Company No. 1. Quick march — for- 

The Suburban companies likewise miistered promptly on 
the appointed stations — ^the Eastern volunteers at Waverley — 
the Western at Waterloo— the Northern Companies in 
Wynyard Square. 

A strong force of Mounted Police, under their Com- 
mandant Foxley, was within an hour scattered over every 
road and track between Coogee and Cook's River to watch 
for the' advance of the enemy and keep up communication. 
Where then was our Volunteer Cavalry ? The troopers of 
the police did all that any like number of light cavalry could 
do, but their number was woefully short before the day was 
over. Detachments of the foot police were likewise under 

The Commandant of the Forces, " in consequence of private 
information received,'^ had been in the saddle twenty-minutes 


before the alarm — had sent off half-a-dozen messengers^ 

and was now with his staffs the Telegraph Officer, and the 

Reserve of the Permanent Force, at Victoria Barracks, waiting 

for specific information of the enemy before he mounted 

again to go to the front, and satisfy himself as to the muster 

of the Troops ; when the explosion ta the southward seemed 

to call for his immediate presence, and leaving the necessary 

instructions, he called an orderly and galloped towards 


The landing of the Russians will be best described from 

the notes written in the diary of Major Fluellen Lloyd, now 

prepared by me for publication through the courtesy of that 

gallant officer. 


Of Major Fluellen Lloyd; in command of the First 

Division, J\ew South Wales Permanent Force, 

stationed at Botany, 18th May, 187— 

No doubt for my sins, I a veteran who had followed Sale 
and Gough on every battle-field from Jellalabad to Delhi — 
the brother officer of Lawrence, Edwards, and Neill, found 
myself in command of a small squad, I suppose I may as well 
say — of Colonial Troops on the classic shores of Botany Bay 
—living in a shanty, by courtesy called Officer's Barracks, 
with my three daughters, in the year 187 — . My command 


consisted of two companies of infantry and a battery of field 
artillery. The New South Wales Gazetteer for the year places 
a battery of Whitworth guns on Bear Island, close to my 
camp-— but there are no guns there yet ! 

Heavens ! of all places Botany Bay ! * The name in my 
young days was redolent of Newgate and Portland ! 

When I joined the army first in the year 1830, the service 
had just entered on that downward career which has since 
taken it to the devil — but still, it was full of the Duke's men^ 
of those who had not sheathed their swords till peace was 
given to Eiu'ope after thirty years of war ; men of the old 
school, the manly school, before those twaddling days of 
peace, progress, paper collars, and cheap literature ! Ha — ^ha ! 

This reading and writing of the present day is an infernal 
nuisance. The result is that everybody knows everything— 
there are no orders ; no degrees. In my day, it was — every 
man to his trade — civilians stuck to tailoring and shoe- 
making — ^and soldiers were soldiers. 

If you had seen my company when I first carried the colors 
under Captain Maxwell at Chatham, you would have seen 
real soldiers then — clean— close-shaved — in tight red-coats 
and pipe-clayed belts. Each man carried his 40-lb. knapsack 
with a tight hard black leather stock round his neck^ and a 
full-toned flint musket — ^none of your sputtering rifles — on 
his shoulder. They were men, then. Sir — ^They got drunk, ' 


and they were flogged Sir-* and not half-a-dozen of them 
could read and write, — ^and the best scholars were the worst 
men in the company. 

" Oh papa/' here remarked Miss Nelly — (apropos of 
what ?)— r-" you know our men did well — ^that they fought like 
tigers — and they were praised by everybody— even by the 

'* I know nothing of the kind, Miss — ^These Colonials have 
not the stamina of Englishmen — of the sort of men we had in 
the times I speak of. How would young Scott and his 
company like to march up to the guns at Mudkee — ^with 
twenty thousand bearded Sikhs grinning behind them. That 
was something like fighting — not like your bush shooting 
and target-practice. No Englishman in my day would have 
sought the life of a gallant enemy with a rifle lying behind 
a tree or hid in a ditch. We bared our breasts to the foe, 
and only fired in volleys at the word of command— We 
trusted to the cold steel.^' 

" Oh papa/' sings out Miss Norah, " have you not always 
insisted on the skirmishing drill and target practice till the 
officers were quite sick of it ? Only to think of your abusing 
your own soldiers when you keep them in such order and are 
so kind to them too 1 " 

*' I'm not abusing them Miss— I only say they are de- 
generated. They may be rifle-men, they are not soldiers. 
And as to the shooting, would you have me draw my pay and 



do nothing for it. If they tell me to arm the men with pea- 
shooters or to dress them in peacock's feathers^ I would obey 
these orders too. I repeat that the times are woefully oat of 
joint — ^that the service has gone to the devil, — and it would 
be more becoming in young ladies to listen modestly to their 
father than to sport ideas of their own.^ 


The three laughed aloud at this^-one patted me on the 
head — another kissed me — and the third lighted a cigar for 
me. They know how to humbug the old soldier, the monkeys. 

But I must go on and put together what this Editor wants. 
He has written a very proper letter, and must be treated 
civilly. Who is to read my composition I cannot fancy. 
There is really nothing to tell. The whole thing was a 
muddle between Volunteers, Civilians, and Defence Com- 
missioners. We did not run away — ^that's the best that can 
be said of any of us, — ^but what little fighting there was, 
was completely contrary to all rules and regulations. 

Well — as I have it set down — on the night of the 17th May, 
I went to bed at 11 p.m., and was roused up by Sergeant 
Green at 1*15 a.m., who reported rockets to the eastward. 
I did not like to trust the fisher lads with these fireworks, 
and I cautioned them well about not using them without 
reason, but old Warren the pilot " went bail," as he said, that 
they would not be sent up without good cause. I was soon 


at the look-out station with Green^ and there^ sure enough^ 
rose^ seemingly two miles beyond the Heads another of our 
signal rockets. 

" Minute time, sir/' said Green. True, it looked like it. 

" The fishing-boats are coming in, I think, sir." 

The gallop of a horse now sounded near, and trooper 

Flanagan in a minute came in from the Point — opened the 
gate, and saluted. 

'' Steamers to the eastward, sir, — ^boats signalling." 

^' Have you made out the steamers, Flanagan ?" 

" No, sir, not to swear to, blit anybody can see there's 
something beyond common — ^there's a light cloud rising on a 
width of three or four mile : and with the night-glass Haw- 
kins makes out what looks like masts and rigging — the 
boats " 

" Never mind the boats, I'm asking what you saw." 

Yes, I reflected, ten miles from the Point yet. 

"Gk) back, Flanagan, and when you see the steamers 
distinctly, fire your blue light, and come down yourself 
with three troopers ; let the other three wait to watch and 
count the steamers. Let them saddle up now.'' 

" Green, ask the Telegraph Superintendent to come here ; 
pass the word for the officers to assemble in the mess-room, 
and let the men turn out quietly without fuss; we are not 
certain yet.'' 


I was pretty sure though that in an hour the hurly-hurly 
would begin^ aud that then I could attend to nothing but 
duty, so I wakened Nelly and told her to get herself and 
her sisters into the buggy. 

On looking across the yard I saw that Dwyer had already 
got out old Buffer, and put the harness on, and I saw the 
Camp Wagon with its foiu' horses already out and ready for 
the women, children, and baggage. 

Though I had kept it quiet, as I thought, they all seemed 
to know as much about what was going on as I did. 

The gossip and tattle of a barrack are astonishing. 

The girls were smart and alert as became a campaigner's 
daughters — ^though with tears in their eyes they each hugged 
their old father. 

I told them to go to the barracks at Faddington 
and to do whatever Mrs. Fortescue told them, and to drive 
slowly ; there was no need to hurry; but they must needs bundle 
in beside them Mrs. Dwyer and her three dirty-nosed children; 
however, old Buffer could take them all right enough, and 
the girls were quite right to look after the poor woman and 
her children. 

My cares so far were over, so I walked into the mess- 
room ; where were my eight officers and Mr. Grigor of the 
Telegraph staff. 

READY. 67 

Leslie reported his four-gun battery ready for immediate 
service. Scott and Montague had their companies mustered 
in fall strength. Grigor reported his arrangements complete 
both for the Electric Light and the Torpedo service. The 
Camp-officer reported all ready to clear out in five minutes 

I said the waggon and carts with the women and children 
might move away at once^ and after that there was nothing 
to be done but watch and wait. But first a message in 
cipher had been wired to Colonel Richards^ stating what 
appearances were^ and I cautioned the Superintendent that 
not another word was to be telegraphed without my 

After walking^round the camp^ I went up the ladder of the 
signal station and looked to seaward. The night-glass now 
showed me the two fishing boats running in with a light 
breeze on the port beam^ and I could partly make out the 
appearance on the water that the trooper had reported. 
Twenty minutes more would place the matter beyond doubt. 

As I came down^ there was a horseman coming into the gate^ 
and a second glance shewed me it was Joey Munn^ one of the 
lads from the Training Stables. What could have started 
him ? 


Well, Joey, come to sell me a horse at this time of night ?" 


" No, Sir, but I had the filly in the box, and so I came 
down to say that the young ladies are well on their road by 
this time, and to see if I could be of any use." 

The whole country seemed awake ; and a false alarm was 
such a mischievous nuisance. Still the probabilities were 
that it was real this time, and I might as well put this volun- 
teer to some use. In an hour I might regret, if all the help- 
less folks and women and children round the Bay, were not 
well on their way to Sydney. 

" Well, Joey, I suppose the filly can go a bit — so you may 
as well canter round the Bay and give a hint that the folks 
may as well be clearing out ; the night's fine, and a little star- 
light walk or drive will not hurt. Be sure to go to the Sir 
Joseph Banks, and warn Mrs. Smith and Miss Costello; 
they will be sure to see that the hotel is cleared. All the 
women folks are as well away. Don't raise a panic now, 
like a good lad ; do it quietly. Mind, I'm trusting you." 

" Yes Sir, Vl\ be careful." So I got rid of Joey, and put 
him to good use. 

It was a beautiful night — ^I took a few turns up and down 
— ^the girls were well on their way — and all the scattered 
inhabitants of Botany would in a few minutes be on the road. 

The troops were at hand with their a^ms stacked — ^two 
guns horsed and ready to move, and every eye watching the 
signal-man or fixed on the water. The fishermen were 
landing and coming up to make their report-— when 


"Blue light at the Point Sir.'' 

Sure enough there it was. " Pass the word to the Telegraph 
Officer." I raised my handkerchief. Grigor was at his battery 
ready to fire the Electric Light. 

In a few minutes Flanagan's horse panting and foam- 
flecked was at the fence. 

'' They're plain now Sir — ^three light steamers within two 
miles of the Heads carrying on racing speedy and behind them 
on each side masts and funnels like trees." 

I gave the signal^ and the Electric Light rose from its perch 
and threw a livid glare on the water of the Bay^ lighting up 
the opposite shore^ but keeping the camp in perfect darkness. 

It was splendidly done^ but I remarked to Grigor that we 
did not get a view of the beach and the village. He turned 
a screw^ and a gleam was shot out that threw a vivid streak 
right over the shallow water^ the sands and tree-tops^ till I 
could see the hotels garden^ and cottages plain. All would 
move now without further warning. I was struck with the 
beauty and perfection of the thing. I found reason to change 
my mind in half-an-hour about this and other devilish 
modem nick-nacks. 

I now lifted my hand— Scott and Montague's infantry had 
already fallen in — ^the word to march was given^ and they 
wheeled out of the gate by the track cut to Bunnerong. We 

70 ALERT, 

knew well enough where the landing would be. The half- 
battery of artillery next passed out by the other road for the 
Dam with all the supemumeries and camp-followers and a 
cart of entrenching tools. Nearly every one of the fellows 
had some sort of weapon or other. I suppose there's some 
reason for coast-guardsmen having arms — ^but telegraph 
clerks^ fishermen^ and hangers on of all sorts — every man had 
a shooting tool^ a good many these little breech-loading 
carbines. I hate to see civilians with weapons— it reminds 
me of Fapineau and those French- Yankee rebel scoundrels in 
Canada in 1838. Many a good red-coat did I see drilled by 
those " citizen's rifles ''—rubbish ! 

^' Now, Flanagan, you leave one trooper with me, and with 
the other two go carefully round and see that not a living soul 
is left in any house on the north side of the Bay — ^then after 
that — ^let your men patrol on the flanks of the troops and 
keep their eyes open. Report to me at the Dam.^ 


So I was left with a half-battery of artillery, the Telegraph 
officer and one operator, and a trooper to wait for the enemy. 

Those who donH know what soldiering is, must think 
that I had been taking it very easy — that I should have been 
for the last half-hour buzzing and gandering all over the 
camp— cackling among the men and guns like a laying hen ; 
but such as are acquainted with ^' the discipline of the wars " 


can guess that my preparations were all made weeks ago^-^ 
that every officer knew what he would likely be called on to 
do, and that the men were trained to their work* 

We veterans are often laughed at as fogies, but the muddles 
of modem wars have not been made by us — ^but by politicians 
meddling with what they don^t understand, by newspapers 
gabbing everything out, by the infernal innovations hatched 
by crazy theorists, and by rascally contractors and com- 

I walked over to Grigor. He had the Torpedo battery 
ready, and he assured me that not a steamer would ever get 
half-a-mile beyond Bear Island. 

If so, of course the business would be over at once, and 
though unpalatable to my military notions, I felt that it was 
the right and necessary thing to do. Still I was too old a 
bird to believe there was any certainty about it— I never 
now count my chickens before they are hatched. 

We had not long to wait. — In twenty minutes three 
beauties of iron Clyde-built boats appeared cutting the 
water with their razor-like stems. In the bright light we could 
see every plate and rivet with the glass. As they came in 
sight, they checked their speed. 

The first was near the southern shore of the Bay, the 
second near the middle some hundred yards behind, and the 
third nearer this side followed at an equal distance. 


It was the regular Echelon infantry formation^ and it was 
evidently adopted for some object. 

As the first boat slowed and opened out into full view she 
fired what seeemed to be rockets that fell in the water at various 
distances^ and as she drifted slowly on^ I saw lines of light 
in the water. 

The other boats as they came up did the same — slacked 
speed — and fired rockets — then they all slowly zigzagged 
across the Bay. 

As they turned their stems to us, I could see that they 
were each dragging what looked like dozens of copper wires 
behind them. 

Grigor looked puzzled and uneasy, and kept his hand 
ready on the key of the instrument for the moment that 
they should come within the torpedo buoy. 

Heavens — I saw it at last — they were trawling for our 
torpedo wire. 

I shouted to Musgrave ^[/?re" — and his two guns sent their 
shot at the nearest steamer — ^but I might have left it 
alone — ^it was too late, and merely exposed our position. 

As the last steamer cleared Bear Island, and the first had 
got within a few chains of our marked line, the water in the 
Bay rose in pyramids — showers of sand and mud fell for a 

A BLOW-UP. 73 

I ■ ■■ ^ »■ ^ I ■■■■■■ I ^■■l■■-., , ., _ ■,,^ . ,1 I .11, I ■ m 

mile round — a flash like a levin-bolt dashed down the instru- 
ment and levelled Grigor on his back — ^while our electric Hght 
v^as snuffed into darkness. 

Every one of our torpedoes had exploded harmlessly , and the 
concussion from the powerful batteries in the steamers had 
destroyed our apparatus — ^here for certain was " the engineer 
hoist with his own petard/' 

This fiendish contrivance had been shown before their 
Lordships of the Admiralty at Chatham a year before — they 
condemned it of course — and so do I from hard-earned ex- 
perience. I concur fully with their Lordships. 

We were in total darkness^ and the crackling timbers and 
rending planks around showed that the Telegraph Office was 
a ruin. I struck a match^ and there lay Grigor stunned and 
bleeding. I lifted him the best way I could^ and carried him 
among shattered furniture and broken glass to the yard^ 
where the men had just quietened the terrified horses and 
lighted some lanterns. Artillery horses are not easily 
frightened^ but this electric shock was something much more 
trying to the nerves than an ordinary cannonade. Some 
spirits and water revived Grigor a little^ but even when he 
was mounted half-an-hour after^ his assistant had to lead the 

The Bay was still heaving with such billows as Botany 
had never seen before^ but the Bussian steamers were 


riding safely^ and one of them managed to send a whiff of 
bullets from a Gfatling^ that^ though they flew wide^ were 
evidently intended as a return for Musgrave's shells. 

I then told Musgrave to move his guns to lower ground 
near the extremity of the point. I meant still to lie dark as 
long as I could and watch the landing. T could no longer 
telegraph to head-quarters^ but the general alarm was given^ 
and after the explosion I was sure the Commandant would not 
be long in learning what was going on. So I decided that the 
best thing I could do^ was to make a diversion in aid of the 
Infantry force in ambush near the beach at Bunnerong^ and 
thus help to retard the landing— and send the trooper with 
the news to Colonel Richards. 

We were now recovering our sense of sight, and I could 
make out the transports gliding up the Bay in two lines, and 
it was plain that their course had been accurately planned 
beforehand. The three light steamers that led, I could make 
out by the night glass, aided by their lights, ran up before the 
water settled to nearly opposite the hotel, and each seemed at 
once to detach a steam-launch full of men, as if by magic. 
Of the large ships, one line speedily lay between the camp 
and the Hotel, while the other lay parallel in the direction of 
the southern shore ; but the water Hterally was alive with 
launches before they cast anchor, while boats in numbers 
appeared ready to lower and fill with soldiery at once. 


The first group of launches passed towards the shore^ and as I 
expected they touched the sand directly opposite the ambushed 
Infantry. The Russian Intelligence Department is most 
accurate and admirably conducted^ and a good sharp rattle of 
musketry left me in no doubt that they had reached the right 
spot. I now saw the chance I wanted. Launches and row- 
boats covered in swarms two miles frontage of the beach 
crossing the short interval of water. Musgrave had his 
bearings already, and set to work. Six rounds were dis- 
charged as fast as they could fire and load right through the 
flotilla, and we took our change out of them. The musketry 
from the scrub was well sustained, and the boats hung back, 
but it was only for a minute. I could do no more, for two 
of the larger steamers backed till they brought their massive 
hulls right between the point and the flotilla ; and began a 
shower of bullets and shells, that tore up the turf, sent frag- 
ments of the rock in the air and knocked splinters off poor old 
" La Perouse's " monument. It was well the guns were 
placed low, and I was glad to clear out before I lost men and 

Montague and Scott had their orders ; they would skirmish 
back as soon as a large force was on the beach, and when 
across the road, they would make their way straight across 
the bush for the Dam ; the ground was well-known to them. 

Now my way was to the Dam. I hurried on and the guns 
followed. I told them to put Mr, Grigor on a gun carriage 


if he could not ride^ but lie managed to get along. It was 
no time to wait^ as some of tlie Russians would certainly be 
landing on the Battery Point from boats^ or be feeling their 
way from the beach through the scrub, and their scouts 
would be all round directly. 

The three troopers from the Heads joined me before I got 
far. " The steamers were all in, and they had counted them 
entering. There were twelve heavy Transports, and an equal 
number of lighter steamers. The last of these lay just below 
Bear Island. They had seen eighty soldiers, thirty sailors, 
and a gun put on board boats from this last — one of the 
smallest, and towed away by a steam-launch. Three large 
ships, men-of-war they believed, were steaming north towards 
Port Jackson^^ — exactly, no doubt, to try the entrance. 

If the large Transports carried men in the same proportion 
as this light steamer, there would not be less than six thousand 
troops disembarking, without counting sailors and marines. 
If so, our work was cut out for us. 

The firing at Bunnerong was now dropping away — a faint 
bugle call that came over the ridge told that the retreat had 
begun, and as I gained the higher ground, I could see by 
the flames rising over the trees that our Muscovite visitors 
had lost no time in commencing to use the license of war* 
The old Hotel was evidently in a blaze. No doubt the dogs 
were ransacking the cellars, and I hoped that the whole con- 



cem would blow up with them ; or if not, that they might 
drop on such grog as you sometimes meet with in roadside 
inns — ^bluestone and kerosene — and get poisoned. But alas ! 
our Hostess^ liquors would go down the gullets of these 
northern bears like the balm of Gilead ! The flames seemed 
spreading ; tongues of fire flickered as if they were in different 
parts of the village, and I was truly glad to think that I had 
got the poor inhabitants moved. What might not happen 
if the brutes got into Sydney ? 

Some boys hung about hidden among the trees and told 
afterwards what went on. It seems that their officers had a 
job to get their men into column on the Waterloo road. The 
Provost Marshal, with Corporal Knout in attendance, had to 
be appealed to first. They just tasted enough of drink and 
plunder to want more. 

Thank God the women and children were all away. 

But for all that detention, the head of the column was 
half way to Sydney long before daylight, and their scouts 
and skirmishers held every hill and cover on both sides of the 
road. They knew what they were about. 

A few minutes more brought me to the Dam. The spot 
had capabilities for defence, if we only had men enough, and 
Leslie had not been idle. Pick and shovel had been plied 
for an hour, and a strong earth-work (sand-bags, fascines 
lever and planks were ready planted on the spot) cut off the 


road, fitted to carry four guns ; two were already in position. 
The men were now digging rifle-pits on all sides of the 
Embankment, and I am bound to admit that the tag-rag 
and bob-tail worked nearly as well as the soldiers. 

With water on one side, a natural glacis without cover for 
a quarter of a mile on the other, and the road commanded by 
our four guns, I took my solemn affidavit that his Imperial 
Majesty^s troops would need to pay toll before they passed 
us, — come as many as they might. With more men I could 
keep them there till broad daylight. 

" Well, Leslie, this is not so bad.^' 

" Colonel Richards has been here ; he has just left for 
Moore Park and Waterloo. Major Livingstone, with a strong 
party of Volunteers, may be expected every minute.'' 

^' Volunteers coming here ! Heavens — ^is Richards mad ?" 

" Livingstone is to command the position.'* 

" As to that, I have no objection. Though a younger 
man, Livingstone is a crack soldier — only he is eccentric, and 
has a lot of these new-fangled notions — ^like most of those 
travellers and tiger-shooters. But Volunteers ! Why not 
special constables, beadles, cooks and waiters at once V^ 

" That's exactly what Richards said you would say, and 
so he wrote you this line — You could never get on with the 
Volunteers and other Irregulars— (there's some of them here 


already^ and precious iiregolar they look) ; but Livingstone 
believes in that kind of things and certainly he has a knack 
of making men work and follow his lead/' 

I read the note. It was most friendly^ and I had been 
treated with the utmost consideratioli throughout^ and in 
candour I could not but admit that if work was expected 
from the Volunteers and other civilians^ I was not the man 
to manage it. 

" Well, Leslie, TU tell you what we'll do. Why don't you 
make a trench away to the right, and one also to the left, 
both obliquely bearing on the road ?" 

'' Why ? look at the rifle-pits." 

^' Don't you see it's for the Volunteers and the other tag- 
rag, to get them out of the way, and let them shoot each 
other to their heart's content." 

Leslie laughed, and went to have it done. 

fiesides the coast-guardsmen,fishers and others who followed 
the guns out, there were gathered there some score or two 
from Botany and the neighbourhood, mostly young men, and 
to my astonishment they gave the Artillery Captain three 
ringing cheers when he told them what was wanted, and they 
set to at once. There were plenty of hands now and every 
implement was at work directly. 

80 THE DAM, 

I went back along the road for a short distance to examine 
the effect of the arrangements — so far as the moonlight 
would allow. It was well done. The guns being barely on 
the level of the road could not be seen^ and the rifle pits 
also were so well masked as to show no sign to troops 

The Russians coming on in this . lights would find 
themselves all at once on a dangerous little fortification 
that they could not force easily and could not pass without 
tough fighting — If the tag-rag could only b6 depended on — 
but then they were not imder martial law, and there would 
be little seen of them when the fray began ! 

These were my reflections at the time — I am told now that 
recent events should make me change my opinions. I don^t 
see it. Nobody will ever make me believe in non-professional 
soldiering — ^but I have seen this much, which was never 
evident to me before, namely, that there are positions from 
which it needs a. great deal more courage to run away than 
to fight. 

Having a little leisure to think, I began to weigh mentally 
the policy of our tactics. No doubt they had not been 
adopted without due consideration ; and certainly it would 
never have done to leave this road undefended — ^but suppose 
all the enemy^s troops went by the Waterloo Boad, what then ? 
Well, then, we could still be on their flank in little more than 


an hour. At the same time I thought it almost certain that 
such a force as six or seven thousand men would be divided 
and sent by every possible road^ both for the sake of speed 
and to surprise any undefended point. But, in that case, 
while we were being tackled here, another detachment might 
be making their way by Coogee, following the Coast road ? 

The more I thought, the less I liked it. With a couple of 
thousand regular Infantry of the old sort, I would have faced 
three times the number of Russians readily, but we had only 
four hundred trained Infantry — colonials-^-and the rest 
Volunteers — shop-boys, clerks, and apprentices — ^faugh ! 

Thinking was a waste of time — ^it always came to the same 
point. In a few minutes my separate command would come 
to an end, and I was listening for the arrival of Livingstone's 
force and the rest of my men. 

Presently there was a stir in the brush-wood to the left and 
there soon appeared coming up the face of the glacis my 
two companies of Infantry, and a trooper cantered past, and 
seeing me, stopped. 

It was Flanagan. 

^' He had seen a large body of Bussian Infantry with 
sailors, guns, and marines in their rear, march along the 
Waterloo Boad. He had then watched a much larger body 
form column- and head along this road. They could not be 


more than a mile from this now. Hawkins was watcliing 
them, and would be in presently. Stewart had been up to 
the head of the column two miles out of Botany, and had seen 
skirmishers thrown out all over the rough ground. He had 
gone to the Kerosene Works and had met two of Mr. Foxley^s 
troopers. They told him that out-posts of the Suburban 
Regiment of Volunteers were almost at the point the Russians 
had reached. He heard several shots fired. He, Flanagan, 
had seen no force go along the Long Bay Road, but they 
might turn off yet." 

I then sent him oS across the bush to watch that track. 

There was no doubt about it now, and if Livingstone were 
only here, I could give undivided attention to my own men. 
I had not to wait long. A jingle and rattle arose behind the 
earth work, and there was a most unmilitary spectacle ! 

First — Livingstone on horse-back and in uniform riding 
alongside a fat man on a pony with some kind of carbine 
slung at his back. Then half-a-dozen cabs, out of each of 
which stepped three or four men, all armed of course. I 
stared when I recognised some of them as gentlemen of un- 
doubted position. Surely Englishmen and their descendants 
were much changed since they could form part of an armed 
rabble ! 

Last of all came the Volimteers— devil take the hindmost- 
arms trailed — accoutrements anyhow, talking and shouting' 

'"HALT!" 83 

At lengthy something that they called an Officer called "halt I " 
and they lolloped off the road, flopped down on the grass^ 
and began lighting their pipes. And this was the Defence 
Force ! 

However, Livingstone highly approved of all I had done, 
and greatly to my satisfaction he sent his Volunteers to the 
trench on the right prepared for them, and already pretty 
well on. 

The civilians and other bob-tail dispersed themselves like- 
wise, and left us soldiers comfortably to ourselves. 

Livingstone laughed heartily at my '^pipeclay prejudices^' 
and I wished him joy of his followers. 

But a sound now rose in front that gave us both plenty to 
think of. It was the long swinging tramp of the Russian 
column. In a few minutes, it would be in sight. 

As what follows has already been chronicled by the regular 
reporters, I will here close my notes. On consideration, I re- 
gret somewhat having bored the kind people of Sydney with 
the spleens and crochets of an old Campaigner. By the bye, 
I may as well say that the girls got all right to the Barracks, 
and they are sitting beside me at this moment. 

This ends the extract from the gallant old oflScer's diary. 
He got a contusion in the course of the day, but soon got 
well. He talks a good deal of " pipeclay'' yet, at which his 
daughters and others laugh, but he is evidently softened a 
good deal both to Volunteers and Colonials. 

84 ''TEE HOUSE r 

The Assembly was sitting, engaged as usual in a ^^ want of 
confidence " debate when the alarm was given. 

The Hon. Member for the Northern Hunter had just 
moved the adjournment of the House in order to say that he 
had heard, promiscuous-like, in the street, from a man whose 
name he did not know, that the Hon. Member for the Cotton- 
bush District had once stolen a calf from a neighbour — when 
a murmur outside the windows suddenly swelled to loud 
ejaculations, and thence spread up to the Stranger^s Grallery. 

The Honorable Commissioners for Defence hurriedly left 
the Treasiuy Benches. 

A whisper went round the House, and the members 
dropped away in twos and threes so hurriedly, as to omit the 
customary obeisance to the Chair. 

It looked as if Mr. Speaker and the orator were to be left 
to a tete-a-tete in the House. The former was rising to 
announce the cause of alarm in a few well-chosen and dignified 
words, when a second glance shewed him that he was alone, 
and the lobby was echoing with the flying feet of the last of 
the legislators. 

After all, these hon. members merely did like many of the 
rest of us. 

Some looked after their families, and then went to aid in 
the defence; others to disappear for days and spend the 


time in soothing their nerves with needful tonics ; and some 
of the long-headed kind to adjourn to harried meetings 
gathered on the spur of the moment. 

At some of these conferences great capitalists and merchants 
were found who acted in a spirit becoming the occasion ; but 
it is said that there were other meetings at which the position 
was shrewdly and carefully discussed from a totally different 
point of view to that taken by the men composing the forces 
that were hurrying to the front and manning the batteries. 

The Projectors of the famous Northern Copper Mine 
Big naturally took their places among these last, and it is 
needless to say that to them '^ hard cash" was the one thing 
needful — ^patriotism and public duty were mere moonshine. 

When the Assembly, three weeks after, passed a vote of 
thanks to the Defence Forces, the following remarks were 
made by a well-known barrister. 

" In dealing with this motion, Mr. Speaker, in which I most 
heartily concur, I think it desirable that the House take this 
opportunity to mark their sense of the conduct of a certain 
clique or section of this community during the late crisis. 

It is universally said, and has not yet been denied, that 
the deliberations of a certain financial body on that occasion 
embraced every proposition that might tend to bring the 
securities of the colony, whether public or private, hitherto 
unmortgaged into their safes, and in such ways as would give 
them individually good pickings all round, and that, in 


tlie death-throes of the colony^ when her blood ran like water, 
they had every preparation made to deal with the Muscovite 
robber and murderer, and give their business services to the 
Power that was then slaying and trampling down those who 
had enriched them. 

In their eyes — ^business was business, and money was 
money — If these wealthy and highly-respectable gentlemen 
(as they are designated), thought at all of their relation to 
the community in which they lived, it was to bless their Gk>d 
that they had a country to sell, and to determine, if they 
got the chance, to get a good price for it/' 

Whether the animadversions of the Hon. gentleman were 
borne out by fact, of course could not be proved, but there is 
little question that among certain sections of the leading 
Plutocratic circles, it was accepted as a decree of Providence 
that persons who had accumulated large quantities of property 
were thereby absolved from all other national, civic, and 
social obligations. 

The many-headed and many-handed public were e]q)ected 
—as a matter of course — ^to give their blood and money for 
the public defence, but the only thing that those others felt 
called on to do was to shepherd their interests carefully and 
if possible to turn the occasion to profit. 

But these top-sawyers were not the only individuals of the 
commercial world, who thought they saw their way to do 
business on the occasion. 

" BEST BUjBF U." 87 

A few hours later^ a great Shipping Butcher was going to 
be off for orders to the Russian Squadron^ when he was 
''scruffed'' as Jack Tarbrush called it, by the ever-vigilant 

Lancaster grew livid with wrath — " stopped by a pack of 
vannint as he could buy up the whole bilin' of them, ministers 
and all — ^What if they was Booshians — ^he supposed Booshian's 
money was as good as any other man's. Fight — ^he didn't 
want no fightin'. Let them fight as fancied it — every man 
for his-self was his mortar — ^he wanted to do business, and he 
asked what kind of —-— Government this here was as allowed 
them kind of doings. Blessed if he seen the likes of this yet. — 
Here he was man and boy in the butchering line forty year, 
and he never seen the shipping yet that he could not supply, 
best beef 5d, mutton 4d a pound clean carcass, and here was 
a jackanapes of a Government 'ack as he didn't believe was 
worth two hundred pence let alone two hundred pound as 
said he was'nt free to go aboard. He wanted no more nor 
what was fair, and no man could say a word agin him, and 
he'd be blessed if he did'nt make somebody pay for it." 

Thus with fierce gesticulation of his fists, and in wild 
Ossianic trope and metaphor did the virile soul of the great 
wholesale Butcher find relief. 

What were empires and dynasties to him, so long, as in his 
own language, he could sell wholesale, beef 5d, mutton 4d 
per lb. ? He was a truly practical man. The breed is yet 
kept up in the colony. 


But we must go back to an earlier hour and see the doings 
of the Defence Commissioners. ' 

From the Assembly they had adjourned to the Telegraph 
Office, where they took up their quarters. 

With all the wires coming into the room where they sat, 
they could conduct the defence of the colony to great 

Everything that happened from Broken Bay to Cape 
Hacking would be wired to them at once through a large 
and efficient staff of operators and signal-men, — and from 
their easy chairs they could puU'the strings that were to set 
in motion the military chief with his staff. 

The members of a ministry, elected by a popular majority, 

are of course, on the "vox populi vox dei'^ principle, — 

omnisciently endowed with wisdom, — and thus, it never 

occurred to either of the two honorable gentlemen that they 
were at all unfit for the job they had undertaken, or that 

the " bloody game of war" was more difficult to play, than a 

parliamentary round-hand at billet-hunting, or a trick at 

that highly profitable foim of loo called " insolvency.^ 


It must withal be admitted that their administration of our 
military resources on that eventful day was thoroughly suc- 
cessful, but this result arose greatly from causes that the 
Commissioners could hardly have calculated upon. 


For one things their blunders were so numerous and so 
complicated as often to neutralise each other. 

For example, the ammunition that Major Ranger was 
making such a fass about, and that the whole Ordnance Staff 
were turning over Goat Island to find, was actually on the 
ground after all. 

The accidental breaking^own of a waggon on Constitution 
Hill, and the bursting of some of the cases with which it was 
loaded, shewed that though marked, " Telegraphic Service,'' 
^'Pield Hospital Stores," &c., they were filled with the 
cartridges wanted ; and thus it turned out " that good luck '' 
was an element in the day's proceedings not to be under-rated. 

The Chief Clerk of the Ordnance (nephew of the Senior 
Commissioner) lately appointed at i£500 a year, had on his 
assumption of office, issued orders for the repacking and 
cataloguing of ammunition, and as it was done by newly 
appointed hands, with nobody to look after them, the result 
we have seen followed. 

Moreover, the Telegraph Branch got into a somewhat 
chaotic state before the day's work was far on. 

It was said, but I don't believe it, that only such of the 
Commissioner's messages as the operators approved of were 
feithfuUy forwarded. 

But I can tell of matters that did really occur in this 
Branch, and my readers can judge of their meaning them- 

9fi 8PIJS8 AGAIN. 

Two young men had recently been appointed as operators 
at stations situated on the head-lands of Port Jackson. They 
had been recommended through a most respectable channel^ 
the great fancy-goods and private discounting firm of 
Himmelreich and Co.^ who were Count Kaskowhiski^s agents 
during that nobleman's visit here. 

These young men spoke excelleat English^ and from that 
and from their names^ no one could have guessed that they 
were foreigners^ — ^and their promptitude, anxious courtesy, 
and good discipUne, soon recommended them to the notice 
of their superiors. 

Well, at half-past three in the morning, when the electric 
light was illuminating the entrance, and the batteries on the 
Middle Head were on the alert, the three Iron-clads shewed^ 
and upon the guns opening on them, they steamed behind 
the North Head. 

Petersen, stationed at the Quarantine ground, wired at 
once to the Commissioners. " Squadron heading for Manly — 
appear preparing to land troops.'' 

The three steamers held round till they faced the beach, 
and then half-a-dozen boats were manned and sent off towards 

Petersen wired at once — " Force landing in boats." This 
was all that was wanted ; the boats hung about for an hour 
while a pretence of preparing to land went on, then they 


were recalled and the steamers again bore up for the entrance, 
shewed again at day-break, and finally as we have seen, they 
settled somewhat to the south of the Oap, and went in for 
shelling the town till about mid-day, when the Southerly 
rising sent them into Botany for shelter. 

Meantime Skinner, the Manly fisherman, had been *' piping" 
them, and he let go a pigeon with a written message, which 
flew straight for Hunter-Street. 

Himmelreich's other protegi was stationed on the South 
Head — Mr. Gregg. He did not give his fall name — Woronzoff 
Gregg. His paternal ancestor's name was safest and best 
for the purpose. 

This gentleman had been reckoned upon as the one most 
likely to be of service to his Imperial master, and Himmel- 
reich and Co. had made strong interest to get him a military 

Our good friend Mr. Buzz has displayed in his career an 
instance of that success which in this colony always attends 
virtue.and industry. 

He had landed in Sydney forty years ago a pious, friendless 
lad vrith half-a-crown in his pocket, and now he owed fifty 
thousand pounds. 

HimmelreicVs application on behalf of Mr. Gregg came 
on him at a critical juncture, just two days before that " dies 


ira"— of commerce^ ike fourth of the month, and Mr. Buzz 
knew from his Bill-book^ that certain documents of his would 
then be scrutinised by a financial Inquisition. 

If the Kites he flew to make his living did not bear the 
needful autographs^ then they would fly no more^ and the 
great firm of Buzz & Co., like other "cloud-capt towers 
and gorgeous palaces,^^ built of wind and paper, would 
dissolve in thin air, '* and leave not a wrack behind.^' 

As Mr. Buzz remarked — business is business — and Himmel- 
reicVs signature was appended to the Bills, as soon as a 
Gazette -notice was written out, of Colonel Gregg's appoint- 
ment to the command of the First Division Permanent Force 
Station at Botany. 

A note, written to Colonel Richards, was all that was 
further wanted to place Gregg in his position — a mere matter 
of form to a subordinate — the same as if Mr. Buzz had 
called to the office-boy to fill his ink-bottle. 

To his amazement, as much indeed as if the said office-boy 
had told him not to make so much noise, Richards wrote 
him a firm but logical and well- worded remonstrance, pointing 
out the danger of entrusting such a responsible position to 
a stranger, and moreover stating that Gregg, though he 
shewed commissions and military certificates &om various 
European Powers, was not accustomed to English military 
habits, and certainly would never command the respect of 
the officers and men. 



No wonder Mr. Buzz was wrath. 

He had never got such a dressing since he was smacked 
for not brushing the beadle's boots at the religious founda- 
tion where he studied in his youth. 

He turned over the comer of the letter, and wrote. 

*' Colonel Richards will carry out the instructions of the 
Defence Commissioners. When his opinion is wanted^ it 
will be duly asked for.'' 

But power of all kinds is tempered by some modifying 
element^ even among our nice allies the Turks by the bow- 
string and the dagger^ and among ourselves by weapons 
almost as much dreaded; for instance^ the pointed shafts 
shot at times by our friend Mr. Punch. 

Bichards indignant^ wrote out the resignation of his 
command^ and sent it to a personage in exalted position. 

It was sent back to him with a pacifying note^ and in two 
days Mr. Buzz found the town too hot for him^ and he had 
to go to the Kurrajong for a fortnight. 

Every paper, every tavern, every club made Buzz, Himmel- 
reich, and Gregg their topic. The jokes were not very 
brilliant, but they answered the purpose. 

But before the Commissioner went for change of air, 
Gregg was moved quietly to the post of Telegraph Agent at 
the South Head, and the appointment of Commanding Officer 
at Botany was offered to Major Fluellen Lloyd, a veteran not 


long in the colony, sometimes called a fogey and a martinet, 
but a tough soldier, as true as steel, and as wide-awake as a 

Grregg could not have chosen a better position than the one 
he thus accidentally got, for influencing either the attack or 
defence, and he hoped by his day's work to make hijs mark 
for promotion in the Imperial Secret Service ; but his inten- 
tions were thwarted by what he naturally condemned as the 
brutal stupidity of a subordinate. 

Joe Bowers was an old coast-guardsman. He could be 
perfectly deaf when he chose, and he was cross-grained and 
whimsical as spoiled old sailors are. He was insolent to the 
verge of mutiny at times to such of his superiors as he 
did not approve of, and he had either a dog-like intuition of 
chanicter,or he was much more knowing than it was his pleasure 
to appear. To look at, he might have been an old salt of 
Camperdown or the Nile, and Mr. Woronzoff Gregg found 
him too hard a nut to crack. 

If Gregg reported him for insubordination, somehow there 
was always an influential friend behind the scenes to take 
Joe's part. If he read his instructions to him, he got for 
answer, '^ and how do you expect a man to be a scholard at 
fifteen bob a week, and dog rations ? '' 

Joe's sole duty was to haul up and down two flags as directed 
by the Telegraph Operator, and he lived in a kind of hut or 

" DEAF A8 A POST." 96 

kennel at the foot of his flag-staff. The station was fixed 
so as to be visible from all the batteries. When the Union 
Jack was hoisted^ it was the signal to open fire — a white flag 
substituted was '' cease firing.^' 

Joe guessed the meaning of these signals^ though no one had 
told him^ and as soon as the Tsargrad showed her bows round 
the cliffs from Manly about six o^clock^ he hoisted the Union 
Jack at once without waiting for any order^ jerked the hal- 
yards over the stays so as to be beyond his superior's reach^ 
and then went chuckling into his hut and began to cook 
bacon in a frying-pan. 

In addition to these very reprehensible proceedings, I must 
confess that he had an hour before bundled up not only the 
white flag^ but his single pair of sheets and every white rag in 
bis possession and dropped them over the cliff — ^he said he 
"didn't see they was wanted that day." 

The first shot brought Gregg out in a fury '' You old brute, 
what have you been about ? Haul down that flag and run 
up the white one.'' 

*^ Mornin', Mr. Gregg," said Joe* cheerfully — " bitter cold 
uiomin' Sir. Have a warm pot of tea and a snack of bacon 

" Cut down the flag," roared Gregg, in vain trying to reach 
the halyards, and in agony for the consequences to the 
Imperial shipping, while George's Head and Middle Head 


alike in obedience to Joe's signal poured their shells upon them. 
Joe was deafer than ever^ he put his hand to his ear^ and 
at last caught the word flag. '' What's wrong with the flag 
— oh, it's up, is it — ^why didn't ye say so,"with a fiend-like 

" Well now if they aint a-firin' and me frying bacon. Why, 
the flag's all right then Sir — Union Jack in action all the 
world over. Blessed if that warn't a close shave, knocked 
the dirt right over your office Sir. Skeers a man a bit at 
first them whistling beggars of shells— don't mind them much 

Gregg saw it was no use trying to stop the cannonade now, 
and presently the steamers disappeared behind the South Head 
— ^The tinkle of a bell had told him that the order to open 
fire was given, and Joe's interference had just got the Iron- 
clads about two dozen shells more than they would have 
otherwise had ; quite enough to do infinite damage in all 
conscience, but on what ground could he report him ? 

He knew that Englishmen had been promoted for exceeding 
and even disobeying orders when the result seemed to justify 
the transgression ; so he had to stomach it. 

Meantime Joe went maundering on — ''Ye're a hard- 
working gentleman Mr. Gregg, but you're too anxious Sir— 
and I seen when ye was howlin' that way that your insid< 
was bad. A man's sure to get the gripes if he worrits 

ON DIET, 97 

liisself on an empty stomach. You do look mortal bad now, 
but ye only make it worse by givin* way. A warm feed is 
what you want^ and if you're patient you'll get it. Most 
people allows tho' that bacon needs time to fry and 
should be well done. Says Dr. Bowles to me, ' Joe,' says he 
— for he knows how for to speak to a man, and he don't howl 
as if he had the gripes, ' don't you be a-going to stuff 
yourself with meat and above all with under-done pork, as 
will give you hydrapids in your liver.' ' But Doctor Bowles ' 
says I, as it might be to you, ' I don't hold with them as 
would go for to blow a man out with cabbages and cold 
water.' " 

'TBh, — ^what's that — tooken bad again — read my orders- 
mind in future — aint you my superior, of coorse you are, 
and aint I takin' care on ye ? Don't you be a-feard Sir. 
Them Booshians is round the point Sir and they got a good 
dose, didn't they Sir. So you're off without your tea Sir," 
and Joe stood wagging his grey head and winking as if he had 
just obtained some signal triumph. 

Such being the manner in which the Signal and Tele^aph 
service was conducted at the Heads, the panic of confusion 
in the office of the Commissioners may be imagined. 

Mr. Bummington thirsted to explode all the torpedoes 
with which the channel was studded, but he did not get 
the chance, as the Bussian Commodore was perfectly 


.aware, and had down on black and white the precise nature 
of these preparations. Moreover, the salute he had received 
through the officiousness of Joe Bowers disposed him to keep 
out of the entrance, and he preferred staying where he was, 
and pitching just enough shells in the direction of the city 
to raise the needful amount of alarm. 

Petersen's messages however had been attended with some 
decisive results. 

Mr. Buzz, with the prescience of genius, saw at once,— -or 
said so at least, — ^that Manly was the real point of attack, 
and that the Botany operations were merely feints to with- 
draw attention from a far more formidable advance which 
would take the batteries in rear. The Spit would be passed by 
portable pontoons, and the battalions of invaders would in 
three hours swarm from Bradley^s Head to Kirribili with the 
guns of these batteries turned on the city. 

A part of the Defence Force could still be stopped, and 
he could send them by steamers at fall speed to Manly to 
resist the enemy landing, or oppose his advance. 

There were still at Victoria Barracks, waiting orders, two 
companies of the Permanent Infantry and one Battery of the 
Permanent Artillery, and three companies of Volimteers had 
been detained in Wynyard Square for orders. 

These were the St. Leonards' and Balmain companies, and 
a large efficient company of Engineers. 


They formed a very important section of the Volunteer- 
Force^ the Companies being so largely manned as to be 
almost double the ordinary strength^ and containing a very 
large proportion of crack shots and hardy able-bodied men. 

It was plain that the presence or absence of this combined 
body of the Permanent and Volunteer troops would tell 
greatly in the crisis of the day, and thus Mr. Buzz, in deter- 
mining to send them to Manly, was falling into the very 
trap set for him by Mr. Petersen of the Russian Intelligence 
Department, and for the time Telegraph Operator at the 
North Head. 

Three hours atter the alarm, confusion was at its height. 

The North Head and Manly wires had been dumb since 
the last message. 

Petersen was never seen again ; what became of him, no 
one knows. His office was found half burned and the 
apparatus smashed — ^whether by a shell or not was only a 
matter of surmise. 



Colonel Richards had left the Reserve Force at the barracks 
under Major Fortescue with instructions not to move except 
on his order conveyed by wire. 

Seeing what was going on towards Botany^ Fortescue was 
surprised to get a message to bring his command down to 
the Telegraph OflSce in George street. 

He demurred^ but at length on receiving a telegram signed 
by both Commissioners stating that the object was to oppose 
a lianding at Manly Beach ^ he hurried down to the town. 

On the way he was passed by Richards pushing his brown 
throughbred to the gallop. 

On reaching the barracks^ he had heard with alarm that the 
Reserve Force, which he counted on for strengthening his left 
towards Randwick, likely to be the most critical point of 
attack — ^was off, doubling into the City by order of the Defence 

At five o'clock Colonel Richards was on Constitution Hill. 

A heavy fire had been heard for about twenty minutes on 
the Bunnerong Road, and then there had been a spluttering 
of rifle shots in the direction of the Kerosene Works, shew- 
ing that the enemy on the Botany Road also had reached our 

The City Regiment of Volimteers, with a battery o^ 
Volunteer Artillery, were holding the road below Moor 
Park and the ridges around, with their skirmishers extendins 
to the point where the track to Randwick forks off. 


There were also waitings held in hand in the Barracks at 
Paddington^ the Reserve of the Permanent Force, consisting 
of two companies and a battery. 

The firing ceased a little before five, and in a few minutes 
a Telegraph boy put the following message into the Colonel's 
hands : — 

^' Russians drawing back. Watch Googee, troops on that 
road; written report in ten minutes by Orderly/' 

(Signed) — Livingstone. 

This was pressing, and he sent off an officer with half-a- 
dozen troopers to scout in the direction mentioned; mean- 
time, he would wait for the Report. It was as follows (in 
pencil) : — 

Dam, 4*45 a.m., 18th May. 

The Colonel Commandant. 

Sir, — I have the honor to report that owing to the ad- 
mirable arrangements made previously to my arrival here by 
Major Fluellen Lloyd, C.B., the attack of the enemy on this 
position has been resisted with severe loss to them, and with 
comparatively little to our troops. 

I expect a renewal of the attack at day-break, and am now 
engaged in strengthening the defences. 

I have to report most highly of the conduct of all con- 


The Permanent Force acted like Veteran Troops. 

The Volunteers ambushed in a Trench, cut by the military 
skill and foresight of Major Lloyd, fairly swept the approach- 
ing road-way with their deadly fire. 

The unattached riflemen and civilians proved useful and 
obedient to discipline. 

I have reason to believe, from the report of a Trooper sent 
out by Major Lloyd, that a force of Russians, believed to be 
five or six hundred strong, is on the Long Bay Boad ad- 
vancing to Bandwick. 

I have the honor, &&, 

H. Livingstone, 


Mem. for Quarter-master. Wanted twelve vans for 
wounded and Doctor. 

Prompt action was wanted, as with day-break, it seemed 
certain that the attack of the enemy would develope on, at 
least, three different points. Meantime, aU Colonel Richards, 
could do was to ask Mr. Foxley to occupy Randwick with 
a force of about one himdred foot police, while he hurried 
off for the Reserve and for the remainder of the Volunteer 



On reaching the Barracks he founds as we know^ that 
the troops were gone. The evils of a command^ controlled 
as his was by civilian interference^ now pressed bitterly upon 
him^ but though time was shorty he felt he could do nothing 
to better it except by his personal presence. So he had to 
ride for it. 

The Colonel held straight on for Government House. He 
knew that it was hopeless to argue with the Commissioners^ 
and he had made up his mind some days before that when 
he got into serious difficulty^ he would go straight to the 
Queen's Representative. His military instincts told him at 
once that the alarm at Manly was only a ruse^ and that even 
if it developed into an actual advance in force^ it could hardly 
take serious shape for many hours. 

Meantime the troops that had landed at Botany were 
almost within sight of the city. 

They were on separate roads in parallel divisions, the 
brushwood and broken ground between being covered with 
swarms of skirmishers. 

Our cavalry scouts described what they saw in the moon- 
light, the tea-tree alive with crouching figures and glancing 
rifle-barrels — the solid columns standing in arms on the 
roads^ and reaching far towards Botany — then behind— guns 
drawn by sailors, and a strong rear-guard of infantry and 
naval supernumeraries. 


It was plain that if not vigorously opposed, both Divisions 
would be in Sydney an hour after sunrise. 

As it was, with all the force at his disposal, the Colonel 
could hardly hope to do more than protract the contest and 
gain time. 

The enemy had advanced steadily, till the vigorous defence 
they encountered at the Dam, and the dropping fire of the 
Volunteer scouts gathering along their front, made Milarovitch 
doubtful as to the strength opposed to him, and determined 
him to w^kit for daylight. 

Although the peril was doubtless great, the Commandant 
did not fear an immediate rout of his troops. The gallant 
defence made by Lloyd^s men shewed good fighting stuff, 
and in any case, he counted upon making the Russians pay 
dear for every step they made in advance. He knew that 
in gaining time, he doubled his chances, but the removal of 
some of the best of the troops would undoubtedly prejudice 
his position very much. 

Meantime, the men had by no means lost heart. The 
Infantry of the Permanent Force that had borne the brunt 
of the first skirmish were in great feather. Their first brush 
with the enemy had given them no sense of inferiority, and 
although hardly one of them had ever smelled powder before, 
they seemed as steady,, whether in line or in skirmishing 
order, as if they had been at the Alma. 


The force at the Dam had been reinforced by the Waverley, 
Woollahra, and Paddington Volunteers, but neither officers 
nor men of the Regulars expected anything from these citizen 

They had been taught that the Volunteers would bolt at 
once^ and they heartily wished to do all the fighting by them- 
selves. In this luckily they were disappointed. 

But their professional sensibilities had to undergo still 
greater trials that morning. When the Russians made their 
last attempt at the Dam before they fell back, while the 
conical balls were whistling merrily all about, the Subaltern 
of the Company on the left found to his horror on his flank 
within a few yards, not the enemy, but some half-dozen 
fellows not even in uniform — ^^^ pot-shooting'* deliberately 
and carefully wherever a spiked helmet glittered or a rifle 
cracked. Fresh from Addiscombe and Aldershott, his alarm 
and disgust may be conceived. Here were civilians — cads 
for anything he knew — not bolting or falling down in fits as 
they should do, but actually shooting regular troops with as 
much zest as if they were wild ducks or snipe. 

This seemed not only a breach of the unities and pro- 
prieties of the profession, but a positive subversion of all 
accepted theories. All that the youth could gasp out was, 

"For goodness sake, gentlemen, keep out of our way — as 
long as you don't shoot us, you may shoot anybody else you 


For various reasons the Commandant's anxiety and hope 
centred in occupying the high ground to his left. 

He had little fear that the Moore Park position would be 
carried by a rush in the teeth of such marksmen as filled the 
City Regiment. 

They were now clearing away such of the brush as would 
favor the advance of the enemy^ and their first line of 
skirmishers lay so that they would support Livingstone's right 
as soon as he fell back. 

About the Waterloo position he had been more anxious, 
but Mount Fisgah was strong ground, and a four-gun 
battery was mounted on the top, so as to sweep a mile of the 
road. Moreover, the force holding the position was strong 
in numbers, though somewhat patchy and miscellaneous. 

It consisted of four companies Suburban Volunteers, two 
companies of Highlanders, a company formed of the older 
cadets under the Rev. Captain M' Arthur and Captain Strong 
— ^a strong party of foot-police, and about three hundred of 
the Volunteer Artillery acting as Infantry. 

(The treatment of this Volunteer Artillery was one of the 
most scandalous matters connected with our Defence Admini- 
stration. Though a most capital body of men, they were 
persistently befooled by the authorities. Only one battery 
was horsed, and that insufficiently. 


The guns placed in position on the Mount were got there 
entirely by the good will and determination of the men — no 
thanks to anybody else. Again^ the arms they were supplied 
with made it a farce to call them soldiers at all^ the greater 
part having the old smooth-bored police carbines. They 
might knock a man down^ they could never hit a mark. 
Indeed it is said that as many Russians suffered from their 
butt-ends as from their bullets.) 

But a Sub. had just come from Mount Pisgah and had 
given Colonel Richards such an account of preparation as 
greatly relieved him. 

''The Artillery were barricading the Boad — the High- 
landers and Police were digging rifle-pits— civilians in 
numbers^ armed and not armed^ were helping in the pre- 
parations — there were old soldiers among them undoubtedly, 
wherever they came from — ^the guns were in position on the 
height — the sand-hills swarmed with riflemen, and outposts 
with lines of skirmishers extended beyond the Kerosene 

This was so far good, and moreover, the Farramatta Corps 
might be expected shortly — and the companies from the 
Hawkesbury before many hours. 

Besides the enemy's force on the Waterloo Road was the 
weaker of the two divisions, so, with the City Regiment on 
their left flank, he felt no great distrust as to the Officer in 
command of the position keeping his ground for a time. 

108 ''THE left:* 

This being the case^ Richards felt that his left required his 
utmost attention. 

The enemy at the Dam was in great strength^ and if the 
skirmish that had just, ended had taken place in day-light, 
the smallforce that opposed them would have been driven 
like chaff before the wind. 

Even if they should have succeded in occupying Randwiek 

and Waverley heights, unless in greater strength, the Russians 

in pursuit would have scattered them, and then come in on 

the rear of the main position in overwhelming force. The 

troops on the middle and lower roads could hardly be expected 

to be steady with the enemy in their rear as well as in their 
front, and indeed such a catastrophe might and probably 

would have ended in panic and ruin. 

Now, there was in addition the danger arising from the force 
said to be advancing by Googee — a comparatively small body, 
but still quite enough, without resistance, to turn his flank and 
throw)[his line of defence into ' confusion, to be a prey to 
the main body of the enemy on their advance. 

On the other hand, if he could occupy these heights with 
sufficient strength, he might beat back this advance from 
Googee, strengthen Livingstone, and operate to great ad- 
vantage on the flank of the enemy advancing on Moore Park. 

He had this much opinion of his troops, — ^he believed that 
with five or six hundred more men and another battery, so 


long as they contained a proportion of regulars^ he could turn 
the tables on the enemy^ and drive them mobbed and in 
confusion into the sand-hills on the right. 

And it was for this he wanted to hurry up the Permanent 
Reserve and the Volunteer companies waiting in Sydney. 

Now, the Commissioner's interference had well-nigh 
thwarted him, and there would be day-light in an hour, when 
the attack would certainly be renewed, and the weakness of 
the defending force would become apparent. 

So, as I before said, Richards determined to appeal to the 
Governor. As he rode up. Government House was alight — 
Secretary and Orderlies were astir, and horses stood saddled 
m the front. 

The Governor came to the entrance with a gentleman who 

stepped into a cab. " Then Mr. you will bring me at 

once anything further you get?^' ^'Without an instants' 
delay. Sir H " and the cab drove off. 

'^ Colonel Richards ! Come in.'' 

The Commandant in that short interview learned something 
that opened his eyes. The whole attack and defence up to 
the last twenty minutes was placed before him— on a plan. 
The Manly affair was only a ruse ; the three Iron-clads were 
steaming slowly round the North Head ; there was no force 
but that landed at Botany ; the telegraph lines had been cut, 
but mounted police were galloping from Parramatta and from 



every point which could be communicated with^ and there 
was no doubt that communication would soon open, and all 
the country corps of Volunteers and the armed Police on the 
Line would be down by mid-day. 

Colonel Richards had full authority from the Governor to 
do what he thought best. He advised him to stop the troops 
under orders for Manly, and to carry out his plan of putting 
them all on the Long Bay Road. 

He, the Governor, would send some one who would secure 
every vehicle in the town that was to be got for the quick 
conveyance of the troops. Meantime let them be marched 
off at once. A Proclamation was ready for prmting that 
^ould end all interference with Richard^s command. 

" You're puzzled now, Richards, are not you ?" 

" Indeed I am.'* 

" Well, I'll tell you a secret, tho' there's little time. I've 
had the Pigeon Club working for me. They have birds all 
round in safe hands within twenty miles, and you saw 
Thompson leave just now ; he brought me two billets — one 
from Botany and one from Manly. Good-bye : good luck to 

The Colonel's heart exulted within hfan ; he felt as if he 
held six trumps. He already saw his Reserve Infantry ad- 
vancing, firing in line on the flank of the Muscovite column, 
while the field guns rolled grape into them from the heights. 



He even thought that the Volunteers might be coaxed to a 
bayonet charge^ though in his heart he suspected that they 
preferred long shots in a horizontal attitude. 

Before these ideas had quite shaped themselves^ the good 
horse was tossing his head at the Colonnade in George-street, 
where Fortescue had just arrived with his men well breathed 
and hot, but none the worse. " All right, Fortescue — straight 
back — ^its all humbug about Manly,^^ and the Major in a 
twinkling, " Bight about face — by your left. Quick march. 


Richards was rattling off to Wynyard Square where the 
three companies of Volunteers were, when Buzz burst out of 
the Telegraph Office, hot, bumptious, and imperious. 

" Colonel Richards : I have ordered these troops to Manly 
to oppose the enemy's landing.*' 

The Colonel got off his horse, and walked under the portico. 
He felt bound to be civil and to put things fairly before this 
civilian administrator ; their recent dispute made it all the 
more imperative, under the feeling natural to a gentleman, 
that he should treat him with justice. Nevertheless, it was 
a struggle to act up to the rule, and there was no time 
to spare. The public did not give him the chance to enter 
into explanation. 

A crowd had gathered — some of whom really seemed to 
guess the merits of the matter. It was not a common crowd. 

112 teljsobapb: office. 

It consisted of all the heterogeneous elements that compose 
the Australian democracy (except capitalists and larrikins)^ 
and naturally they spoke their minds free. 

There were cricket-players, street preachers^ gamblers^ 
spiritualists, drunkards, politicians, and, in fact, all the most 
prominent of every eccentric class, but undoubtedly contain- 
ing men of brains and energy. Most of them went to the 
front that day, and a good many did not come back. 

Buzz raved and bounced.. Richards tried civilly to get a 
hearing ; the crowd talked all together, shouted, and hurrahed. 
At length a voice that drowned all others like the beat of a 
drum or the bay of a blood-hound — rolled out — 

'' Go on Bichards, don^t mind the bom idiot/^ Nothing 
more could be heard in the tumult. Buzz disappeared Uvid 
up-stairs. Fortescue^s men were wheeling into Eing-street, 
and the Colonel the next minute started the three companies 
of Volunteers for the Waverley fioad. 

Mulropey's new place was lighted up, and men with rifles 
in their hands stood all about. A big man came out with 

soda and b — . 

'* Here Colonel, wet your whistle." 

It was Mulroney himself. 

'' We'll all be out directly Colonel.'^ 

An up-country man whom he knew slightly came to the 
other side of his horse, '^ I suppose. Colonel Richards, we can 
act with the troops ?" 


The Colonel considered^ " I dare not say yes, and I will 
not say no— It^s very irregular — ^you must obey the officer in 
command if you will go out, and keep out of the way of the 

" God bless my soul,^' said the honest Colonel to himself 
inr perplexity, " I believe a lot of these civilians will fight 
after all/' 

With the break of day the advance of the enemy was re- 
newed on both lines of road, but thanks to the two hours 
of preparation, and the promptitude with which the Com- 
missioners' plans were baffled, they were well met. 

It needs good troops to beat baok step by step a double line 
of deadly shooting skirmishers, to lead only at last to open 
ground swept by volley-firing and field guns. 

The dense columns of the Muscovites and their stolid 
coui^age presented only the better mark, while their skirmishers 
plainly could not for a moment quell the fire of our ambushed 
rifles. Dead weight and numbers might no doubt, backed by 
their bear-like audacity, force their way, but the success would 
be attended with fearful loss. 

This was the character of the fighting over the whole line 
of defence for two hours after day-break. 

In the grey dawn the Dam was rushed so suddenly, by 
such numbers, and with such impetuosity, as might have been 


a surprise if met with less vigilance and promptitude. The 
enemy apparently had guessed in some way the smallness of 
the defending force, and hoped to gain a victory with one 
blow. But the foresight of the Officer in command, and the 
resolute discipline of the Permanent Force were equal to the 

The mass of grey-coats and helmets had barely dashed up 
the embankment when a crash of grape and musketiy burst 
in their midst, and through the smoke appeared along the 
road a line of levelled bayonets, while away to right and left 
for a hundred yards on each side, the crack of rifles told 
whence came the shot that kept falling on each flank of the 
writhing and staggering column. 

But the position was no longer tenable. To think that 
the attack was over was absurd. The worst was coming yet 
there was no doubt. The enemy were seven to one, and they 
would be round them in no time. So the guns were limbered 
up and galloped back to a position already decided upon, and 
the Infantry fell back skirmishing and steadily disputing 
every inch of the advance. 

Major Livingstone might easily have retreated at once 
rapidly and without loss to his new ground, before the enemy 
had sufficiently recovered to pursue him, but he had decided 
to fall back inch by inch for good reasons. 


He meant that his men should ^* establish a funk '* in the 
Russians by their shootings and he knew that nothing would 
so much tend to this as the perilous and exhausting work of 
driving such men as those following him out of cover. 

Though a distinguished officer for his years^ Livingstone 
was not a bigoted army man^ and his ideas had less by far of 
the House Guards and Hyde Park pattern than almost any 
other Regular Officer in the colonies. He was a keen sports- 
man and a bold explorer^ and had seen a good deal of rough 
and irregular frontier service on the scattered outposts of the 
Empire^ and being a crack rifle-shot himself and knowing all 
the shooting statistics^ he listened with good-humoured 
mockery to the shallow absurdities retailed by his Subs.^ and 
by many older officers who should have known better. 

He knew that since the year 1860, the rifle had been a 
house-hold institution in all British communities, and he had 
seen bank clerks in New Zealand and boatmen in Ontario 
make uncommonly good shooting against tatooed warriors 
and heroes in green uniforms — and on looking round him he 
saw no reason to doubt that a like experience was in store for 
the soldiers of the Czar. 

There near him were three Volunteers whom he had seen 
at the Butts at Paddington, making bulls-eye after bulls-eye, 
and they seemed to find no difficulty in covering a half-hidden 
cross-belt or shoulder scale. 


There was a grey-jacket on the other side with a short 
Westly-Bichards^ whom he had seen with that same weapon 
stalking kangaroos and bowling over wild horses at the gallop, 
and the other men there outside of the Permanent Force, 
whether in uniform or not, seemed all of the stamp of fellows 
that meant work. 

It fell out as Livingstone expected. 

A mile's retreat in the morning mist fairly galled Milaro- 
vitch and his picked battalions into desperation. 

In spite of their advanced and flanking companies, the 
column was wrapped in a continuous fire. When he eixtended 
his front to the left he drew the fire of the advanced company 
of the First Regiment (the City Volunteers). 

The large force seemed to be in danger of being surrounded 
by the smaller ; so to extend his front he caused the regiment 
of Ekatrinoslov to come up from the rear and drive in these 
new antagonists, while with the leading battalion he continued 
to press Livingstone along the track to Bandwick., 

The best shots were pushed to the front to pick off the red- 
coats (now far too prominent marks), but they met only the 
scathing bullets of the retreating force. 

Skirmishing was useless. To push through the leafy 

screen of the scrub only drew a shot from a rifle hidden in 
the undergrowth, while to charge home with the column only 

served to concentrate within a focus of thirty yards the fire 

of four hundred marksmen. 


The attacking force were dropping fast^ and the defenders 
lost few. 

When the Russians at times came on a red uniform or grey 
tweed suit clothing a wounded or dying man, they finishsd 
him savagely with their bayonets and musket-buts. 

It was then Milarovitch shewed his Tartar bloody and gave 
the order which has ever since stained his name with infamy. 

At the Brussels^ Conference of 1874, held with the view of 
establishing an International Code of War, a proposition con- 
demning as banditti all combatants not in regular uniform, 
was supported by the chief Continental Powers. 

Though approved by a majority of the Governments there 
represented, this resolution had been in no sense accepted as 
law in Europe, but the vote having passed the Conference, 
seems to have been interpreted by Russian Military jurists 
into accepted assent, and whether by regular Imperial 
authority or not, Milarovitch decided to act upon that inter- 

Exasperated beyond control by the resistance of four or five 
hundred men to the famous regiment of St. Wincislaus, he 
observed some of the opposing force out of uniform, and re- 
membered the vote of the Conference. 

Four Randwi^k lads had been out since the first alarm, 
keen to fight against the invaders, and to save their parents 
and homes from slaughter and spoil. 


They had been Grammar School Cadets only a year ago^ 
and were now members of the local Rifle Club. 

They had hung too far back in the retreating line. A rash 
of the advancing force cut them off^ and before they could 
fight or run they were knocked down and disarmed. 

Milarovitch was near. '^ Bayonet them, and the next you 
catch, hang them up wherever there is a tree or a telegraph 

It was done. 

The poor young fellows, hardly more than school- boys, 
died with the shouts of their country-men in their ears, for 
Richards was up with his Reserve, and his guns had formed 
in alignment with the battery already in position on the 

The mist was rolling in white masses off the basin to the 
right. The deepening echo on both sides of the middle-road 
shewed that the assault there had begun, and the white puffs 
rising beyond told of an advance on Waterloo. 

It was clear that there was a fight on, and that the Rand- 
wick boys would not die unavenged. 

The Commandant's arrangements had been well-timed. 

The Russian troops advancing by the Coogee Road, on 
reaching Rand wick, found themselves opposed by Foxley^s 


men, and not being able to guess the strength of the force 
before them, they fell back under cover, and waited for day- 

On seeing the retreat of Livingstone^s detachment before 
the Regiment of St. Wincislaus, they made a second attempt, 
not knowing of the arrival of Richards' Reserve, when they 
were hurled with great loss down hill right on to Milarovitch's 

This mobbed and confused mass was now exposed to the 
crushing fire of the eight field-guns ranged on the sand- 
stone plateau, and after vain attempts at extricating their 
troops and leading them to the attack, the Russian officers 
had to withdraw them to the shelter of their own guns, 
which were now waiting to open fire. 

But Richards had no wish to enter into an Artillery duel. 

He could use his guns to better purpose ; and he entrusted 
to Livingstone the task of continuing to press the enemy 
with rifle fire — a service peculiarly acceptable to that officer — 
while he caused the artillery to limber up after a few rounds, 
and moved them to bear upon the strong column that could 
now be seen pressing up the road towards Moore Park. 

The Russians made in the course of the forenoon three 
desperate attempts to carry the heights against Livingstone's 
rifles, but it was only to leave their dead and wounded in 


scores on every open patch of ground. At length, towards 
mid-day, they concentrated their force under cover, and kept 
on the defensive. 

The tables were turned. 

The Colonel, having arranged as we have seen, felt anxious 
about Mount Fisgah. 

That position was perilously near the town and near the 
Railway. The ground was naturally strong, but a disaster 
there would be followed more immediately by crushing ruin 
'than anywhere else. 

With the Naval Brigade and the Country Volunteers on 
the ground, he would not feel afraid of the result, but the 
first were needed in the Harbour while the iron-clads were 
menacing the entrance, and it might be hours before the 
country corps could be brought up. 

Meantime, his place was at Waterloo. 

Before he got there, the sound of skirmishing had changed 
to the heavy roar of field-guns and the ceaseless rattle of 

The delights of early dawn have been eulogised for ages by 
poets and other imaginative people. 

I always think that such individuals can hardly have 
personally experienced the facts which they deUght to present 
to their readers. I can hardly conceive that Pope or Milton 

" THE GAEZr 121 

can have watched cattle all night on a frosty plaio^ or can 
have waited for the first grey streak in Australia in the month 
of May^ crouching in dripping scrub. 

At least if they had, I'm sure they would not have dis- 
played a bit more patience than did Lieutenant Donald 
MacFherson of the First Company Duke of Edinburgh 
Highlanders, New South Wales, when he commanded an out- 
post on the Botany Boad looking out for the Russians that 

If the Lieutenant had been Ossian son of Fingal himself^ 
he could not have more eflfectually piled maledictions on the 
early dawn, the damp, and above all the costume in which the 

mistaken zeal of his countrymen had clothed him. 


For MacFherson had been used to breeks since his child- 
hood and he had no belief whatever in the hearse plumes,. 
Uttle tartan scarf, and other fixtures in which it had pleased 
George IV. of sacred memory and the London tailors to travesty 
the " war paint " of the clans of the Gael. For he knew well- 
enough that there was little historical about the dress, and 
that nothing would astonish both the old wives and the dun 
deer on Cabarfae so much as the apparition of a warrior in 
modern Highland uniform. 

Moreover, there had been mosquitoes at three o'clock, and 
there was something like frost at six. Such are the amenities 
of the Sydney climate. 

122 " P UBE E USSIANS.r 

But the Lieutenant had plenty to warm him before long — 
a sound like the stirring of grass and leaves rose to the firont 
— then with his ear to the ground he heard a twig crack — 
then a scuffle of feet — " look alive there/' a shot ! another — 
a rattling volley — and the game began. 

The Regiments that led the attack on the Upper and Middle 
Roads were pure Russians^ and they wore the spiked silver- 
tinted helmets and green facings so well remembered in the 
Crimea. The rank and file had h, strong Tartar look. 

The Officers nearly all shewed the German blood more or 
less^ but; in nationality and ambition they were as thorough 
Muscovites as Peter the Great himself could have desired. 
They were nearly all descended from the foreign population 
of soldiers, teachers^ and artificers introduced and acclimatised 
by that Sovereign. 

The Regiment that led the advance on Waterloo was of a 
different race. 

It had been drawn originally from the Baltic Provinces 
wrested from Sweden in the last century^ and since had under- 
gone a tempering and seasoning under every clime from the 
Wall of China to Warsaw. Though, under the Institutions of 
the Empire, the men had become in their habits Russianised, 
still they inherited the Scandanavian blood of their Finland 
ancestry, and very resolute dangerous stuff they proved. 


Their dark-haired countrymen of Slavonic and Tartar 
ancestry would go to the death for Holy Russia freely if their 
Father sent them and their priests blessed them^ and 
sprinkled them with the holy oil ; but the heavy fair-haired 
Finlanders cared little for the benedictions and promises of 
the Patriarch himself. 

They had none of the child-like faith and loyalty of the 
pure Muscovite, but like true sons of Thor and Odin, they 
gloated over the prospect of drink, blood, and plunder, and 
their dull grey eyes glittered from beneath their flat^caps and 
yellow hair when they saw the villas of Newtown and 
Marrickville, as the men of Rollo or Hardrada might have 
looked on first seeing the palaces and towns of Italy. 

These were the characters that beat up the outpost com- 
manded by Lieutenant MacPherson, and they conducted 
themselves so as to give that gallant officer reason to remark, 
as he does to this day, that " they were kittle cattle to deal 

Their advance was slow but resolute. It was long before 
they could force back the skirmishers from the scrubby ground, 
and afterwards each defensible position had to be carried, while 
the road was commanded by the guns on the top of Mount 
Pisgah ; — ^but at length they fairly forced their way to the 
main position, and the fighting there became specially desperate, 
daring, and cold-blooded. 


Again and again they came up to the barricade and rifle- 
pits — ^there conld be no doabt of their using their bayonets — 
again and again they burst ^mong the artillery-men to be 
beaten down and driven back^ and to be followed by the fire 
from the rifle-pits an4 sand-hills till they gained the shelter 
of their guns. 

The sight of the houses to the left and rear seemed to in- 
flame them like wolves at the sight of their prey, and it was 
only after half-an-hour of this work, when their dead and 
wounded lay along the line of defence '*like leaves in 
Vallumbrosa ;^^ that their commander drew them back behind 
the low-hills on the road, and set to work with his six field- 
pieces to try to shake the position. 

Shortly after this, that Officer received an order from his 

Milarovitch instructed him to shell all buildings to the 
rear and left of the position — ^to set on fire all he could — 
and to hang up in sight all non-military combatants taken 
prisoner. . 

The savage was a true pupil of the great Suwarrow. Though 
blazing with crosses and orders, he was as veritable a Hun as 
Attila ; and yet probably he was the most rehgious man then 
in Sydney, not even excepting Mr. Buzz. 

He spent an hour every morning howling and posturing 
among lighted candles and crucifixes, and no doubt he had a 
fervent belief in some cannibal kind of Deity that he 


He had made his way hefore, by burning Circassians in 
their villages, and he calculated now that the panic raised by 
the blazing city, and the fate of the civilians taken in arms, 
would before an hour lead to all resistance ceasing. 

But his former experiences had not shewn him the character 
of the people against whom he was making " war to the 

If my patient reader has gathered together the strands of 
this disjointed narrative, he will see clearly, with the aid of 
a local map, that our line of defence about ten o^clock on the 
morning of the 18th May extended from a point near Rand- 
wick Asylum to the ridges below the Racecourse, and thence 
to Mount Pisgah, at Waterloo. 

The force which attacked the Dam ' at daybreak consisted 
of two Regiments, the whole numbering from three to four 
thousand men. 

One regiment followed the retreat of Livingstone^s 
detachment to Randwick heights, while the other drove in the 
skirmishers of the City Volunteers, ancl tried to force their way 
to Moore Park. 

The reception the Russians met with on all the points of 
attack was not what they had been led by their Officers to 


On that noted day to the end^ the contrast between the 
opposing forces was vividly brought out. 

Of the attacking force^ the tactics and discipline were 
perfect. Their officers were shrewd, educated, and courageous 
men — ^while the soldiery either were animated by enthusiastic 
devotion to the Czar, or they were of the sort that liked war, 
and meant fighting — and the whole together formed a 
military mechanism, that in adaptation of parts and organi- 
zation, it would be difficult to excel. 

Of the defenders, on the other hand, it could hardly be 
said that tactics or discipline were their chief moving principles, 
or that they constituted a united organism-^in the same sense. 
They formed rather a band of highly galvanized atoms. 

The Regular Soldiers among them had been Britons by 
blood, and Australians by birth before they were soldiers, and 
their native instincts could not be obliterated by mechanical 

If Fortescue, in the crisis of the morning had told his two 
companies of Reserve Infantry to ground arms and surrender, 
the answer he would likely have got would be that " they 
would see hira at Jericho first — and that they were going 
a-shooting with them Volunteers.^ 


In fact, it became plain as the day went on, that in 
defiance of all the opinions of our Military Solons, our paid 


soldiery were a great deal more citizens than they were 
soldiers^ — and the main reason why they would fight^ and 
could hardly be choked off it, — ^was, not that they were 
getting good wages, or because they would be flogged or be 
liable to three months' imprisonment if they did not, but 
simply because they Uked it; and "if them Sydney and 
Parramatta boys thought they could lick the Rooshians, 
was'nt they as good as them ?" 

From the same reasons, it became pretty evident that every 
Briton-bom or Australian native in the city and suburbs, 
claimed the right to shoot Russians as a privilege or luxury 
which had accrued to him as a birth-right, — and indeed the 
idea was acted upon pretty generally. 

Every man between the South Head and Parramatta who 
thought he could shoot was there, and they seemed all to be 

The general results up to twelve o'clock were not altered 
from the point to which we have brought the detail. 

All sdong their front, but especially at Waterloo, the 
Russian Artillery sought to raise a conflagration, while their 
Infantry lying close, tried to keep down the gnawing advance 
of our rifle fire. 

They waited till their shells had told before making another 

Meantime an unexpected ally was working for them. 



The southerly that now drove their Iron-clads for shelter 
into Botany was to bring them the opportunity to make their 
decisive blow. 

Up to this pointy I have described what I learned from 
various sources. 

Now^ I will resume my own personal experiences. 


When I rode up to the rear of the position at Constitution 
Hill about 12 o'clock, I came first upon some private carri- 
ages, and there was Dr. M ^n fixing up some wounded 

men that they might be placed in the carriages and taken to 
Alfred Park. 


Then I came to an Officer distributing ammunition, and he 
gave me a bag of about 50 lbs. weight to carry on my saddle 
and leave with the first Company to the right. 

I found Major Gillott there, and he advised me to ride 
straight across the sand-hills to Waterloo, where, he kindly 
said, I would be sure to get a job if I wanted one. 

As I passed the end of Waterloo Swamp, a rattling volley 

of bullets cut the sand in front of me, and I met a horse, 

pressed hard at the gallop. He got a shot behind the 

shoulder — crashed headlong to the ground, and the rider rose 

bleeding and staggering to his feet. It was one of the Aides- 

I had found time and opportunitv to put a flask of whiskey 
in my saddle-pouch, so I drew it out and handed him a 
noggin. Poor fellow, he was half-stunned and faint, but the 
grog brought him round. His shot horse and anxiety to get 
on seemed to affect him painfully, but he was not further 


" Heavens/' he said, when he recovered breath, ^^ what will 
I do ? I am sent to hurry up the Naval Brigade.'^ 

I thought but a moment and got off. Bess must take her 
chance like the rest of us, and if I am going shooting I don^t 
need a charger. 

" Keep her for me till I send for her,'^ and he was soon in 
the saddle and off. She had done almost no work for a 
month, and was full of com, so, unless she happened to get in 
the way of a shot, she would be none the worse. 

There was no doubt about my road. The whistling of 
the bullets and the scattering of the sand were guide enough, 
though I saw nobody yet, so I unslung my Henry, put a 
cartridge in, and trudged along leisurely. 

I noticed then, what I had heard of before, but never 
could understand — ^the distinction between the attack and 
return fire. I could tell by the ear abeady which shots were 
fired by the enemy, and which by our men. 

On topping the first, rise beyond the swamp, I found my- 
self on the edge of the skirmish. The Russians who had 
fired on the Aide-de-camp, I could see three hundred yards 
off, down towards the road. They seemed to form part of a 
strong body of skirmishers to their left, and they were trying 
to make their way in a swarm up the sand hills. At times 
they made a rush, and then sunk down in such cover as they 
could get, and so tried to press on. I could see lower down, 


by the more concentrated smoke, dust^ and noise about the 
foot of Mount Pisgah, that that was the main object of the 

These skirmishers were opposed by a ragged chain of rifle- 
men, in, knots and groups, lying, kneeling, and standing in 
all postures along the face of the sand ridge — sometimes 
single men by themselves — generally two and three, and 
sometimes as many as ten or twelve together — but all 
seemingly, by some inherent discipline, acting in concert, for 
they were all irregulars. I began to see how this was. A 
jolly young Sub. doing field officer, cantered along the rear. 
" Right you are, gentlemen — don^t get in each other^s way— • 
feel to the right — can any of you give me a cigar ? Now, 
keep steady — ^you know (puffing away) there^s nothing behind 

This inspiriting piece of information was received as a 
capital joke, and the Sub. got a volley of cheers as he went 
off to the other end of the line he had in charge. 

I found some friends at once — Ross, Binny, and others. 
They were lying in the lee of some tea-tree, and every now 
and then, as the chance offered, a barrel was raised, steadied, 
and the bullet sped. 

As I was watching carefully a particular dip in the ground, 
where I had seen at least a dozen Russians crouch down, two ^ 
of our fellows fired together. 

" My bird down," shouted Binny. 

132 A HEBO. 

" Not a bit/' said Ross, '' I hit him. It was that thief of 
a Corporal, the dead spit of Judas Iscariot. Til bet you five 
pounds I caught him right under the beard. Didn't you see 
it Baker — ^you were looking through the glass ?" 

This discussion was interrupted by a little incident near our 
left. A youth, with more pluck than prudence, and dis- 
regarding the Officer's caution, had not only left the line, 
but had crawled to a^ point where, if he moved, he would be 
equally exposed to our shot and the enemy's. 

At length he saw within a hundred yards what he took to 
be a head, but what we saw perfectly well to be a cap stuck 
up on the end of a rifle to draw him. 

In spite of warning cries behind, he rose slowly and fired ; 
but he was down at once with a shot through his leg. 

Three Russians dashed out to finish him. One was 
knocked over, but the other two got into a drain, and were 
making their way to bayonet him, when a stout little red 
man, I think in one of the Insurance Offices, dashed out of 
his cover, humped him, and took hihi off t>ut of danger, in 
defiance of the bullets whistling round. 

A big Hawkesbury youth, six feet four, who had come 
down to see his cousins, and had come out to see the sport, 
was delighted with the feat. 

He went up to the little man, shook hands with him warmly, 
invited him to visit him at Greendale, and swore that '^ he 
would do—he was as game as a cock soldier ant." 


We were all much diverted with this episode, but the youth 
who had got into the scrape got oflF with little sympathy. 

He was heartily abused, and it was given out that any one 
else who did the same might expect to be left to shift for 
himself, if we did not think it necessary in the circumstances 
to fire at him. However, somebody looked after the poor 
fellow, and before long we managed to pass the word for a 
ran^ which came and took him and another wounded man. 

So it was plain that the irregulars were working into tactics 
of their own. 

But this was mild luxurious work in comparison with what 
was in store for us. 

For some time there had been no advance by the enemy 
in full force. 

They had been trying to shell the city, while our Artillery 
had been working to keep down their fire, and these skirmish- 
ing movements were mainly caused by the attempts of our 
marksmen to bring their shot to bear on the enemy's batteries, 
met by corresponding action on the other side. 

Thus, the main force of the Russians lay back in reserve, 
while the swarms of skirmishers on both sides swayed back 
and forward, as they found opening, or had to give way to a 
superior force. 

The general result was greatly in favor of our men, and 
Major Gillott^s four Suburban Companies having relieved 


the right wing of the City Regiment from pressure, and 
forced a sailor's battery near the Bunnerong Road to clear 
out, now turned to the right, and swept our antagonists clean 
out of their cover on to the main road under the fire of 
Mount Pisgah, while the sand-pits and swamps were in turn 
occupied by the Riflemen of Redfern and the Western 

Our division, if so I may call it, was therefore no more 
wanted there, and following our jolly field-oflScer, whom we 
already looked upon as our commandant-proper, we trooped 
along, to where he assured us, "we would get pepper'^ — 
and so we did. 

The critical moment of the day was fast approaching, 
though none of us guessed it at the time. As we crossed 
the open road, the southerly which had set in was blowing 
clouds of sand and dust, darkening the air above us. We 
had no suspicion that the gale, which had told so opportunely 
for the safety of the town two hours ago, was now to prove 
a powerful ally to the enemy. 

As soon as the Iron clads anchored in Botany Bay, the 
Commodore landed every marine, sailor and gun, that he 
possibly could, and thus formed a body of six hundred men 
and six guns which was marched at once along the Waterloo 


The time had come for Milarovitch^s grand attempt, but 
he had decided on a certain change in tactics. 

His original scheme of a triple attack was disconcerted 
mainly by the superiority of our rifle-shooting, arid he decided 
to concentrate his main attack on his left where the shelling 
had been most successful, and to leave on the other points 
merely sufficient force to keep the troops before them engaged, 
and to be ready to push home any advantage that might 
arise, — ^for he circulated that if he turned or forced Mount 
Fisgah, and let the Finlanders and sailors into the suburbs and 
city, the panic that would follow the spreading conflagration, 
rapine and slaughter, would shake and dissolve our whole line 
of defence. 

With the fresh force now come from the Bay, and the gale 
blowing — with other matters he had in view — ^he was sure 
the game was in his hands ; so he gave the word to advance. 

The enterprise of our skirmishers, and the alacrity of the 
staff, soon brought to our Commandant a knowledge of these 
preparations, and he moved every man he could to his right, 
and sent orders that the troops at Randwick and Moore 
Park should push hard those opposed to them, and if possible 
concentrate towards Waterloo. 

Looking forward to this necessity, the Aide-de-camp had 
been previously despatched to hurry up the Naval Brigade — 
which might now be released from duty in the Harbour — as 
also any Artillery, or other force, that could be got. 


After that, Bichards' resources were all but exhausted. 
There was indeed due a strong force of Volunteers, armed 
Police, and Riflemen, from Goulbum and Bathurst ; but the 
wires were cut, and the mounted messengers might have 
failed ; he could only hope against hope. 

In this pinch, we, among the rest, had been called to a 
weak part of the position, and we presently found ourselves 
manning a barricade of carts, wool-bales, and barrels full of 
bricks and sand, built across Botany main Boad, and flanked 
by broken ground and sand-pits. 

To our right were the little gardens and enclosures of 
Alexandria, occupied by the four companies of Hawkesbury 

To our left was a party of Irregulars like ourselves, mostly 
men from the Clubs and that vicinity who had put them- 
selves under the command of Captain Macdonald,— and on 
the sand-hill behind was the Farramatta Corps. We knew that 
Major Gillott, with his wing of the Subm'ban regiment, was 
on the rough ground to the left, between the Waterloo Dam 
and the Mount, but we could see little or nothing from the 
brickfielders that came over us in gusts. 

The artillery fire which had gone on nearly the whole 
forenoon had ended, in this position, greatly to the advantage 
of the enemy. 

" TWO O'clock:' ut 

Our single battery stationed on the Mount had been dis- 
mounted and sQenced^ and the chiirch behind was one pile 
of ruins. 

Still the superiority of our rifle-fire had balanced the loss 
of .the battery^ and nobody thought we would be driven out 
of the position^ but the sand was getting very annoying ; 
surely, we hoped, it would stop soon. 

It was two o^clock when the last attack began. 

A single gun fired behind the low hill to oui; front, and 
we could hear by the sharp rattle of musketry that the 

Russians had left their cover. 

Gillott's men fortunately were less exposed to the sand- 
storm, and though they had to give way to numbers, still 
they made themselves felt to the end of day. 

On our right the swarm of Russian light troops had less 
trouble to drive back the Hawkesbury men, for the gale came 
right in the faces of the latter, and to use their rifles against 
it was impossible. 

From the small mound of sand on which our barricade 
abutted we tried to open fire, but we failed for the same 

I can hardly describe all that took place — the catastrophe 
was so sudden. 


It seemed that in a moment our barricade was being torn 
with cannon-shot ; while at the same time we were enveloped 
in black smoke, which carried by the southerly, blinded and 
suffocated us. 

It turned out that the enemy on clearing the way with 
their skirmishers brought down their twelve field-pieces to a 
position from which the barricades could be pounded, and 
then set fire to the Kerosene Works, Goodlet and Smithes 
premises, and the Woolwashing buildings, already prepared 
by them for the purpose. 

But we were helpless, blinded, and choking, and at the 
time we could not guess what was going on. 

Shortly the wind abated, the smoke rose, and then we saw 
the extent of our loss. 

The barricade was nearly kuocked to pieces. 

Burst wool-bales and smashed carts were littered about on 
the ground covered with our killed and wounded. 

We hastily moved the wounded to the side of the road, 
for we could hear the sound of the enemy and guns ad- 

A clear glimpse shewed us the guns passing the bridge, and 
the enemy coming up in numbers on each side of the road; 
but what alarmed us most was this : the long column of the 
Finlanders was making its way right through the gardens and 
open ground on our right. 




I believe at that moment^ and then only during the day, 
panic appeared among us. 

Our rifle-shooting, which was our strong point, had been 
useless in the gale. Even yet we could barely see, and had 
just begun to breathe freely — our comrades had been help- 
lessly slaughtered beside us — and now we were out-flanked 
by the main body of the enemy, and the dullest at once felt 
the conviction that we had met with an appalling disaster. 

It was not either so much personal fear that affected us, 
as bewilderment at the catastrophe, and the want of guidance. 

All this passed in a moment ; but the leader came with 
the occasion. 

Macdonald shouted out, *^ Keep together ; save your 
cartridges, and follow me.^' 

We cleared the ruins of the baiTicade, and hurried rapidly 

There were fifty or sixty of us. We left the main street, 
fpr we expected it to be swept with grape directly, and kept 
along the lanes. 

We soon met many parties from the sand-hills keeping 
the same direction by some common understanding. 

Presently our young Field-Officer rode among us. He was 
now bare-headed — his right arm was helplesd, and his horse 
bled terribly. 


He told us tbat the main body on Mount Pisgah was 
falling back to the line of barricades built across Redfem^ 

and that he was collecting men to hold the Railway Line as 
long as possible. The Naval Brigade and Western Volun- 
teers would be up directly, when all would go well. He then 
jumped over a low fence to the left, and rode among the 
cottages in the direction taken by the Hawkesbury Com- 

We saw that we must lose no time to reach the Railway 
before the enemy. Waterloo was soon blazing behind us. 
We saw none of the inhabitants, and hoped for pity^s sake 
that they were all gone. 

Milarovitch, leaving a strong rear-guard to keep in check 
Gillott^s detachment, went over the ruins of our barricade 
with his guns and reserve of marines ; flanking parties of 
skirmishers and sailors, meantime scouring out the back lanes 
and firing the houses. His advance was deliberate and 
secure. A party of pioneers went first, testing the roadway 
first to see if it was mined with dynamite, and if a group 
of people shewed, — a gun poured a shower of mitraille upon 

The reason of the route taken by the column through the 
gardens, was, it appeared, the fear of the streets being mined. 

The Chief's advance in this fashion on the flank and rear, 
protected the column from ambuscade, while he made sure 
of every foot he advanced in the town. 

RALLYING. ' 141 

This was the true Mascovite policy of devastation. It was 
meant to appal^ but it served more to exasperate us. 

We could now hear the rifles of the Hawkesbury men 
holding ground against the pursuing troops. They had 
reached some position that they could defend. 

We put on a short spurt— got through some cow-yards 
and small enclosures^ and found ourselves on the Bailway 
Line opposite Calder House. 

There they were^ holding a large sand-pit near^ and their 
antagonists were hanging back among the cottages and 
ditches^ waitmg for the column^ which soon appeared rising 
in sight behind. 

We were speedily joined by groups rallying to this second 
line of defence — first light-footed Cadets^ and then Police and 

The numbers quickly grew. The importance of the Irregu- 
lars could not now well be questioned. As I looked around^ I 
saw scores of men^ who as youngsters had been Volunteers^ 
now ready to do good service in the country's peril, but to 
whom drill and barrack-yard routine were necessarily un- 

They might not be soldiers certainly, but the fashion in 
which a wing of the Finlanderd got handled by them that 
afternoon on the embankment told its own tale. 

Many of these had been waiting in reserve for such a crisis 
as the present, and their appearance was most timely. 



As civilians, no doubt, they incurred one additional very 
horrible risk, but many already felt that impulse of desperation 
which made the destruction of the enemy the one over- 
whelming object, to be obtained at any cost. 

Perhaps unconsciously we were beginning to show symptoms 
of the hereditary character that has been historical for 
generations. It had been said of our fore-fathers in the old 
wars that they were *^ never more dangerous than in defeat 
and disaster,^^ and our defence began to give evidence of a 
vitality that must have astonished Milarovitch. 

We were beaten — a panic had begun — we were broken and 
dispersed. Still the cohesion was not dissolved. The atoms 
came together again and joined spontaneously. 

Was this from drill or from the want of it ? Or was it 
from another cause altogether ? Was it in the blood ? 

Macdonald kept up our spirits, assuring us that the game 
was not played out yet — that but for the dust-storm and the 
kerosene smoke we would have beat them hollow, and urging 
us to make the most of the undulations of the ground and to 
use our few cartridges to the best purpose. 

The column speedily debouched from the lanes and gardens 
and opened out for attack. 

The Hawkesbury Rifles ambushed to their eyes in the sand 
soon made their shot tell upon them, and we backed them as 
well as we could. The last arrived party took ground to the 
right, and held the Railway embankment for some time with 
good effect. 


The enemy came on in loose order in front — solid formation 
behind — ^losing heavily, but pushing their way in their 
customary dogged manner, till at length they forced the 
Hawkesbury men by pure weight and numbers out of 
their sand hole, and made them retreat, though fighting 
obstinately along the Railway. 

This success of the Finlanders led however to their front 
being considerably extended, and when we saw the capital 
shooting that the party on our right was making among their 
advance companies, we thought things not so hopeless, and I 
began to wish that the Hawkesbury men would continue to 
retreat and draw their line further out yet. 

Our party had been lying down, trying with their rifles to 
protect the retreat of the Hawkesbury men, but as soon as 
they fell back, we came in for some direct attention. 

Though the line of the enemy was now stretched out, it 
was still at every point greatly superior in numbers to all that 
we could oppose to them — but yet encouraged by the con- 
tinued accessions to our ranks of more fugitives and fresh 
men, and by the hope of the long looked for force by the 
Railway, we held on and waited for the attack. 

Macdonald passed the word to reserve our fire till they 
were close, and we all lay still till they were upon us. 

It was a desperate little tussle, and though only one of a 
dozen such that were taking place within the radius of a mile, 
and perhaps unimportant of itself, still it showed the temper 
of the combatants. 

144 A TUSSLE. 

We held the Railway almost muzzle to muzzle with these 
light-infantry and sailors, till we were fairly forced up the 
embankment at Galder House. 

I fired my kst cartridge into a group of saUors rushing 
across the Line ; but on looking to right and left I saw that 
they were round us on both flanks. 

It was all up with us at last. The sailors, headed by a 
young warrant-officer, were carving their way with cutlass 
and revolver through the Cadets. I took a turn of my sling- 
belt in my hand, and resolved that their leader should be my 
bird. He was within reach, and my carbine was whirling 
round my head to give him a two-handed swinger — ^Bannerman 
fashion — when my left leg cracked under me, and I fell 
heavily on my side. 

The tide of fight passed over, leaving the ground strewn 
' with the fallen. The Muscovites might have stabbed or hung 
me, but their discipline was absolute, and I was recognised in 
virtue of my old uniform as a legalised combatant. 

It was not so with all. From where I lay I presently could 
see groups of prisoners pinioned and guarded being hurried 
along the line, and shortly each telegraph post bore a horrid 

It is better to forget these things. The crime and brutahty* 
rest upon the heads of those who made the war. The fate of 
these victims difiered nothing essentially from that. of those 

" VAi: riCTisr 145 

who fell in hot blood with arms in their hands, but^ it is just 
as well that their friends should not learn what actually 

We know now what are the blessings of peace and order. 
Such horrors we had heard of in countries suflFering from 
Cowps d* Etat or from foreign conquest^ but now they came 
home to us. 

One shudders to think that if we had fallen a prey to the 
conqueror, our *' fair Australia " might have seen re-enacted 
the miseries and crimes that crushed poor Poland. 

It was no use trying to rise. - My leg was broken. Our 
dead and wounded lay thick along the edge of the Railway. 
Among them were numbers of the Police and Highlanders. 
They had tried in vain to save the Cadets. 

Near me lay young Bell of the Treasury — shot through the 
body — pallid and clammy — he could not speak but did not 
seem to be in pain. 

The Greendale giant was spitting blood out of his lungs 
and trying to say something about his mother — his new friend 
the little red man lay with his head half blown off. 

The fight continued close behind — Macdonald with a 
desperate remnant held Calder House. Through every 
window and door flashed the shot of the Defenders— but it 
could not last against the infuriated [crowd that already had 
burst into the garden and had set fire to the out-houses. 


These things passed before me like a dream. What the 
ultimate fate of the day might be^ I could not realise — ^the 
present moment — ^the terrible interest of the facts themselyes 
— ^my wound — ^precluded other thoughts. 

I only knew that resistance had not ceased^ and I hoped 
and wondered. But I little guessed how the tide had at 
that moment tumedj and that our protracted undisciplined 
resistance had sapped deeply into the Russian General's force. 
Before a little more pressure^ a fresh application of strength 
— it was to crumble like a crushed egg-shell. 

Our comrades to the Left had hot been idle. 

Livingstone and Fortescue^ who commanded there^ on re- 
ceiving the Commandant's order, knew that the crisis had 
come, and that the time for counting the cost was past. 

They pushed on, rushing the enemy from cover to cover, 
often at the point of the bayonet — the guns galloping on to 
bear from every point of vantage on the Russians clustering 
on the roads and open ground. 

The two Regiments of St. Wincislaus and Ekatrinoslav 
forced in this fashion got boxed together. 

The City Rifles, holding the scrubby ridges galled them 
with an incessant fire. The guns played upon them, front 
and flank. The Permanent Infantry advanced in line. 



Then the difference ill the men showed. This great mass 
had no soul — ^no vital cohesion. When the mechanical 
formation made by drill and discipline gave way^ its strength 
was gone. 

It reeled^ staggered, and finally, as at the Alma, melted 
away and became a mere crowd, taking their way for their 
comrade^s position on the Botany Boad. 

Their Artillery, picked companies, and Officers hung behind 
and made a dogged ret):eat, but they left their dead and 
wounded at every step, and at last had to abandon their guns. 
Their power for attack was gone, and when they massed with 
Milarovitch's rear-guard at Waterloo Dam, they were still 
followed and menaced by a foe, not much over one-third of 
their number. 

But the loss incurred by our troops had been frightful, 
and combined with the remains of Gillott's detachment, the 
whole was able to do little more than maintain a defensive 

It was in fact, with all the brilliance of the achievement, 
little better than a staU'tnate. 

I picked up all this afterwards, but it deserves to be 
recorded by a better pen than mine. 


I could not have lain long^ though much thought was 
crowded into the time^ and it was while the tumult yet raged 
in the enclosures round Calder House^ and while the fight 
went on along the Railway^ that the welcome sound of bugles 
reached my ears from the direction of Newtown. 

I started tip, but fell back with a groan. When I could 
look again, the Russians seemed to be under some new 
pressure. They were retreating across the Railway Line in 
numbers, and a noise of shouting and heavy firing arose 
towards Wilson-street. 

Heavens ! could it be. I managed to lean on my elbow, 
and gazed aroimd listening eagerly. 

The sounds came nearer. There was a crash as of fences 
pulled down, and an old officer in blue riding a tall chestnut 
horse, followed by half-a- dozen troopers, dashed up the bank. 

Thank God, it was Captain Gooch ! The Paddock was 
covered in a second with the Goulbum and Bathurst Volun- 
teers, and along with them on their flanks and rear was every 
rifle-man from Mulwarree to Wingecaribee — from the Mac- 
quarie to the Blue Mountains. 

They rushed the force that were investing Calder House 
like tigers, and I shall never forget their yell of horror and 
execration when their eyes fell on the sights in the Railway 

' HEART OF OAK," 149 

The Hawkesbury Companies, or what remained of them, 
were ahready crossing the Line above in pursuit, and now 
the tide of battle had fairly turned. 

Other sounds to the left — the sustained discharge of 
Artillery — now told that Milarovitch's devastating advance 
through the streets had met with a check. 

The Naval Brigade had at length brought their guns to 
bear upon him. A short Artillery fight at pistol-range took 
place among the houses, of Bedfem, and then our sailors, 
breaking loose, drove the Russian Reserve back through the 
burning streets, to join, in mobbed confusion, the fugitive 
Finlanders and the remains of the other Divisions — ^beyond 
Waterloo Dam. 

It- wanted but a few plunging rounds from the Naval 
Brigade Guns and the rush of the fresh troops to complete 
their defeat. 

Every man of Livingstone^s, Fortescue's, or Gillott^s who 
could crawl rose to the sound of the " advance," and the 
Russians before five o'clock had turned their backs on the 
blazing city, and slaughtered people, to take to their shipping 
and disappear as they had come. % 

But for the hundreds of wounded they left, we might have 
kept up a feeling of hostility and hatred ; but the charity 
that tended and healed them touched mutual chords of 
sympathy, and we came to see that men are much better than 

160 SAVED! 

their institutions. So we blamed the red demon war for 
what had passed ; grudge and ill-will gradually disappeared^ 
and many of them lived among us, and became as our 

From the sounds, I partly guessed what had happened. 
I felt that the great danger had passed, and I lay and listened. 

Now, all was silent near me, but the burning house. The 
last of our men, before leaving to join the pursuit, had seen 
that there were no wounded left inside. As to my comrades 
outside — all were still — ^most of them were dead. The wind 
luckily blew the flames away, and I waited and thought of 
this new page of our history. 

Our wounds were deep, but they would heal in time. 
Our homes — ^thank Heaven, would not be desecrated by a 
brutal soldiery— our necks would not be even for a day 
beneath the yoke of the robber. 

But, in these gory scenes, we have unpardonably lost sight 
of our "noblesse.'' 

While I lay among the dead and wounded beside the 
Bailway, Mrs. Haybag and her daughters arrived at Nugget- 
ville, the seat of the Hon. Matthew Pike, after a journey 
attended with trials and humiliations, rarely endured by 
persons of position and refinement. 



Now, they were safe in a mansion, where, in the words of 
their distinguished relative, "there was the very best of 

They found several of the family expecting them. The 
Hon. Matthew worth £40,000 a year — ^the Hon. John worth 
i630,000 a year, and Thomas Pike, Esq. (considered a mere 
boy) worth only £10,000. 

The Hon. Matthew held up the hands of horror on hearing 
the news. " Well now — ^what do ye think of that ? and 
fiich a loss of property — and all along of this here democracy ! 

John began, " If proputty had doo weight in Guv^ment. 

Mat.—" To be sure — ^now what call have we got to be 
dragged into a quarrel by England ? I say this here — ^We've 
no dispute with them Russians — Let them take English pro- 
perty if they like, and leave us alone — Now that's fair.^^ 

(The Hon. Matthew had just been bragging the day before 
to a great Squatting Knight " that his son 'Arry was at 
Oxford, and knowed no end of Lords and Dooks.'') 

John highly approved of letting the Russians help them- 
selves to anything as long as it belonged to somebody else. 

Mat reflected, " Now, I would like to know this — wouldn't 
they be satisfied if they were let take awa the English 
shipping in port ?" 

John thought deqply, '' Fve got it — We've got no call to 
lose, now isn't that right ? Well there's them Companies— 


the Agricultural and the Caledonian Investment Companies. 
Now^ put up their property at auction and pay the Russians 
— and I'll be bound there^s no loss — Pll bid.'' 

Mat., " Well done Jack — well said Sir — ^you must speak 
more in the ^Ouse — ^Blessed if I've heerd anything so states- 
man-like for years/' 

Little did the Proprietory of these Corporations guess 
how these Honourables were chuckling over the idea of 
making piles of money out of their Hunter Biyer and 
Liverpool Plains possessions. 

" But/' said Mat, " it's no go. Sir — ^Parliament ain't up 
to the mark — not the stamp of men at all. Bad state of 
things, I'm fear'd — ^What do you think of it mum ? " 

Mrs. Haybag made no audible response, but she raised her 
eyes to heaven— at least to the ceiling — and breathed a heart- 
broken sigh. 

The perils of her journey — ^her grievance against Provi- 
dence for allowing those highly profitable haunts of vice and 
typhoid — the back slums of Queer-street, to be shelled — ^but 
above all, the forenoon spent in enforced contact with such a 
mixture of what she put down as pauperism and vulgarity, 
had been too — ^too — much for her. 

Thomas had not spoken yet. 

In personal appearance, he was like a sanctified. pawn- 
broker. He had given his jaws a writhe or two by way of 


expressing delight at seeing his fair cousiHs — (some of whom 
are really nice-looking), but he was not made in the groove 
for flirting,— at the same time, nobody could get round him in 
selling cull sheep. 

At length, with a modulated whine, not unlike *^our 
beloved pastor's" monotone, but without the apostolic 
mellowness, he drawled out, " Expect there shouM be a good 
market for fat stock with so much shipping abe-a-ut." 

And pray, who told me all this, do you say ? 

Why, the Governess, to be sure. There she is on my best 
sofa, with my brother Bob making love to her at this moment ; 
and many a story she tells about Nuggetville — and they're to 
be married in October. 

So you see the perils of high life. 

*^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^^ ^0 ^0 ^0 *^f 

*t^ *^ ^% i^ ^* 0^ 0^ 0^ ^* 

Before the sun had sunk, people were all abroad picking 
up the wounded, and help came to me. 

Mr. May in his parcel-delivery van, wellrfiUed with straw, 
took me and poor young Bell. 

The latter died quietly beside me. 

I was laid carefully down on a bed in the College, and my 
limb was speedily set and bandaged. With fatigue, and a 
sense of relief, I dozed at once into a deep sleep. 

164 8UBGICAL, 

I awoke after many hours with a consciousness of some- 
thing familiar near me. It was night. There was a good 
fire^ and the room was lighted with gas. There was a girlish 
figure^ seemingly engaged in rolling up bandages^ and a 
doctor whom I thought I knew was tending a wounded man 
whom I was sure I had seen before. 

Though free from pain^ I was hazy and could hardly 
rouse myself to look. I must have had an opiate. 

At last the young woman turned herhead^ and if it was not 
my Kate looking as resolute as a rat-terrier^ with no sign' of 
nerves or sensibilities about her whatever. 

Another doctor came in. " Anything 1 can do, Mac ^^n.'* 

«' No, thank you, M n.'' " Who's that V 

" Walker— simple fracture of the tibia^strong as a bull- 
will be well in a fortnight. I have just been telling Mrs. 
Walker there's little the matter with 'him. By the bye, 
if you want to see a really interesting case, there's a man 
in the next room with a fragment of shell which has gone 
right through him, and lodged beneath the os sacrum. It 
will make a beautiful operation," and both the Doctors 
smacked their lips and spoke of it as a rare and delicious treat. 

I watched Kate's face— her indignation at my wound being 
made light of, and her wonder and disgust at the Medicos' 
professional enjoyment tickled me, and I could not but 

''MY KATE!" 156 

She was on her knees beside me in a moment. 

"Oh, Willy, I'm so glad, and you'll be well soon. I 
thought you were sleeping, and Johnny's all right with Mrs. 
Johnstone, and I came in as soon as Mr. Smith sent for me, 
and I hav'nt cried or gushed once till now ;'' and the kind 
face was hidden then for reasons best understood by those 
principally concerned. 

Bye-and-bye, when these little connubialities had somewhat 
abated, there was a kind of feeble crow from the next bed, 
and it was poor Old Smith trying to be jolly. 

'^ Walker, you beggar, so weVe been to the wars, and we've 
got something to blow about at last/' 

" God bless you, old fellow, for thinking of me and sending 
for Kate." 

He had got a messenger away almost as soon as he was 
brought in, and Kate drove herself in, and found me asleep. 

But time would fail, and the patience of my readers as well, 
if I told of the hot tears shed for the fallen and the tender 
pity for the wounded — how every house was open and how 
every heart was keen to aid — ^how the Ladies' Committee with 
the whole town and country working for them kept on duty 
permanently night and day — ^how we buried our noble dead 
in one common sepulchre on Flag-staff Hill and raised over 


them a massive column, with the name of every man engraved 
on it — ^how ecclesiastics when they came back to croak and 
wrangle abont consecration, found no one to listen. 

The ground was already hallowed by the blood and tears of 
a nation. 

But such sorrow as ours was ennobled and left no lasting 
bitterness, and there were other associations less deep, but still 
oi meaning for the times. 

^^ Good society ^' came back and it became the fashion to 
patronise the wounded. But the wounded would not be 
patronised, and the Ladies' Committee, the members of which 
had nursed them like mothers, yielded to their refractory 
patients, and shut the doors on visitors. 

Her Majesty Queen Victoria, whom may Heaven long 
preserve, when she read of the defence of Sydney by her 
trusty and well-beloved lieges of New South Wales, looked 
round to see how she might do us honour, and a patent of 
knight-hood drawn up "by the best advice," was com- 
municated by Telegraph. The three names selected were the 

Hon, G. A. S. Buzz, 

Hon. A. S. S. Bummington, 

Hon. Matthew Pike. 

' Strange to say, it has been a good deal discussed since, 
how a man can get himself unknighted. 



So, the memory of our short war will not be all sorrow. 
With laughter and with weeping will for many a day be told 
the tale of the Invasion. 

Joe Bowers, — ^the shipping Butcher — the Defence Com- 
missioners — the Major^s ditch — and how Sir Matthew Pike- 
won his knighthood — will they not be heard of for many a 
night at happy fire-sides and beside red-g^lowing box logs in 
camp ? ' 

No doubt, too, we have grown bigger since — one is not sa 
much bored now with the eternal sycophancy that used to be 
expressed by the phrase, "any amount of money." 

Only the other day a gentleman with no property to speak 
of— but with a silver cross on his coat — ^was triumphantly 
returned for Parkestown by an overwhelming majority, in 
opposition to all the Pike and Haybag interest, backed by 
all the publicans, priests, and parsons, and he was pledged 
only on two points, namely, " Compulsory Education, and 
a Sanitary Building Act." 

And what's this at the gate, Kate ? 

Why, it's Joey Munn, leading a horse. 

Well, if it isn't Black Bess — and we thought her dead on 
the field of honor ! And Bess it is, for as she comes into the 
gate she lays back her ears, kicks up her heels, and makea 

168 " &BEAT NEWSr 

a grab at her mistress' best rose bush^ who^ unheeding^ over- 
whelms her with such caresses as most young men would 

And here's a note about her — Just so— Aide-de-camp's 
severe wound — ^long iUness — strange black mare — explained 
—many thanks and apologies. 

'^ So BesSj you're none the worse for his Excellency's com.'* 

^' And Joey— how are you — ^why surely you're the master 
of the horse" — for Joe has a hat with black cockade^ white 
cords, and tops. 

^^ No, Sir, I've gone to Major Lloyd." 
" Well, Joe, go in and get your dinner .'* 

^' And what's this next — ^letter from the post — ^why the 
Smithi^ are in town for a day— going back to the Weatherboard 
— ^he's nearly well — ^want us to come in and see them — 
— 'great news — Insurance Companies done the handsome — 
Liverpool and London usual magnificent liberality — ^paid every 
life policy — also fire ditto, including wool — say Hinchcliffe's 
bales had some of them ten and twenty pounds of lead in 
them — did well by them — ^Mutual Provident the same. 
What stuff. Shall we go?" 

*' Oh yes, Willie — ^the whole bilin' of us, as Mr. Smith 

FINIS. 169 

'' You slangy young woman — ^well, so be it. I'll not have 
another chance of a holiday for three months^ for I have to do 
a big survey on the Narran. So I must leave on Monday^ 
and the House meets in September." 

" And we'll go to the Opera^ and you'll wear the cross on 
your coat.'' 
*' Gammon.'* 









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